ONDCP Admits Exaggerating Marijuana Potency

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Well, that's not exactly how they phrased it. But that's what happened. After years of claiming that marijuana is 25-30 times stronger than it used to be, ONDCP admitted that marijuana potency has merely doubled:

(Washington, D.C.)—Today, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released the latest analysis from the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project which revealed that levels of THC—the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana—have reached the highest-ever levels since scientific analysis of the drug began in the late 1970's. According to the latest data on marijuana samples analyzed to date, the average amount of THC in seized samples has reached 8.5 percent. This compares to an average of just under 4 percent reported in 1983 and represents more than a doubling in the potency of the drug since that time.

Compare that to John Walters' statement in The San Francisco Chronicle on September 1, 2002:

The THC of today's sinsemilla averages 14 percent and ranges as high as 30 percent.

Even stronger stuff is on the way. The point is that the potency of available marijuana has not merely "doubled," but increased as much as 30 times.

Maybe he thought we wouldn't remember. It's curious that ONDCP and NIDA are so proud to announce that they've been wildly exaggerating marijuana potency for many years. Apparently, they see value in finally legitimizing their claims that pot is getting stronger, even if doing so raises the question of what the hell they've been talking about all this time.

Yet a doubling of marijuana potency hardly compliments the ONDCP's ongoing effort to eradicate the stuff from the planet. Nor does it bear any relationship to the intoxication levels experienced by users, who titrate their doses to achieve the desired effect regardless of potency.

Besides, now that researchers at Harvard have informed us that THC shrinks tumors and likely prevents lung cancer, more of it can only be a good thing.

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potency has nothing to do with harm

THC is not a hramful substance - the amount in marijuana is not indicative of how harmful the pot could be. And you are absolutely right, if pot is potent peopel don't smoke the same amount to get high.

If we've been waging a war on drugs since Nixon and potency of the most abundant drug - marijuana - has doubled it's the drug policy to blame not the plant!

Federal Propaganda

The potency numbers that the feds are trying to use to scare the public into supporting the war against cannabis users is pure propaganda. If you do not think that 2000 years ago hashish (derived from cannabis) was available containing high levels of THC you are flat wrong. They have compared low THC level ditch weed to high THC level hydroponic cannabis and used this difference to raise fear in the public who are too ignorant to know what cannabis even is. They don't even realize that cannabis is marijuana. WAKE UP PEOPLE! This plant was in the top three prescribed medications before our glorious federal government decided it should be criminalized against the objections of the American Medical Association. The entire drug war is a farce and the most destructive policy this country has ever seen. Responsible adults should not be criminalized for using this plant but the pharmaceutical companies fear they will lose billions each year if it is legalized. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Debate tonight

The DNC debate it tonight I'm sure media will again conspire to keep drug reform off the table for debate. Legalize already what is this some kind of contest?

Press coverage

Of note, two major news stories on this have appeared thus far, from Reuters and the Associated Press. Neither bothered to include any contrasting view at all or even acknowledge that any differing viewpoint even exists. There is plenty of material in print, including much from scientific experts in the U.S., Europe and Australia, questioning the U.S. spin on marijuana potency, and most reform groups are knowledgeable about this data. So far as I can tell, none of us were called for comment, though I was interviewed briefly by CBS Radio last night.

--Bruce Mirken
Marijuana Policy Project

re:press coverage

Paul Harvy today: "Thank god we didn't legalize Marijuana when it came up years ago." he starts the story. He then went on to read the MJ DEA press story. Sick and sad why is the view still being so distorted. This movment is being sucessfully marginalized in the media. It is a sucessful attempt to stifle free speech. The KKK would be more likely to get a better media responce then a peace movment. Are things actually getting better or worse for reform?

Where is the study linking

Where is the study linking higher potency to greater harm? Without this, why should potency even be a concern? Wait, where's the study that conclusively demonstrates harm? What were we talking about again?

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