The vigorous growth and adaptability of the marijuana plant has long frustrated efforts by law-enforcement to thwart its production. Specific strains are easily cross-bred, producing offspring that emphasize certain qualities, thus growers in Oregon can develop a strain that grows well in Oregon's climate with minimal effort. Hybridization not only improves potency, but can also shorten flowering time and increase yield, thereby enabling growers to produce more in less time.
We're witnessing a situation in which the biological vigor of the plant itself has far outpaced law-enforcement efforts that were never effective to begin with. Indoor-grown strains can advance through 3-4 generations in a year's time, with the best specimens from each batch selected for cloning or crossbreeding. Each successive generation carries on the best traits of the former, which explains why growers can now accomplish in a basement what used to require an acre or more in the woods.
The great irony of all this is that drug warriors still think increased marijuana potency is an argument for their side. In reality, nothing could better illustrate the failure of their efforts to reduce the drug's production. Harsh marijuana laws have incentivized growers to produce a stronger product, which carries the same penalties by weight, while commanding higher prices on the street.
As the bitter debate over marijuana legalization rages on, the plants will grow ever faster, bigger, and stronger. Marijuana is one of nature's most remarkable creations, and it is unbelievable that so many people still haven't figured out that this plant is here to help us. From healthy foods to a promising cancer cure, we should be grateful that cannabis sativa grows and evolves as vigorously as it does.
With every forward step in marijuana's evolution, the war against this resilient plant becomes less and less effective.
Note: Thanks to court-qualified cannabis expert Chris Conrad for answering growing questions, and to pot-paparazzi Steve Bloom for turning me on to the government's awesome 2008 cultivation assessment, which got me thinking about this.