Pot tale of the week

In the July 6 edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Douglas County lawyer Jim Hartman wrote, “With marijuana’s new high potency levels—it’s up to seven times more potent than it was in the 1970s—about one in six marijuana users who starts as a teenager becomes physically dependent.”

According to a study of 38,600 samples of illegal marijuana seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration over a period of 20 years, the level of tetrahydrocannabinol—marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient—rose from about 4 percent in 1995 to about 12 percent in 2014. The study was published Jan. 19 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

However, potency is a so-what issue, since if marijuana is more potent, users smoke less. One likely reason for reduced use is that, according to the Bush administration’s 2005 “National Drug Threat Assessment,” higher potency marijuana is not marketable because it makes tokers sick—“more intense—and often unpleasant—effects of the drug leading them to seek medical intervention.”

To put it another way, for prohibitionists, higher potency is a good thing.