Prohibition to blame for potent pot [VIDEO]

For the 50% of readers who answered that they have smoked cannabis here is and interesting analysis that prohibition of cannabis has led to the increase in potency:

“The plant hasn’t changed, the consumers haven’t changed,” says Auburn University’s Mark Thornton, “it’s prohibition and the difficulties and risks of getting it from the growing stage to the consumer.”

Thornton, author of The Economics of Prohibtion, sat down with ReasonTV’s Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss how prohibition distorts the market for marijuana, and why potency levels are on the rise. He says that the potency of other illegal drugs has also increased and that this even included alcohol during prohibition.

“It’s a phenomenon that exists anytime government tries to prevent the consumption of something.”   

Some good lessons in this video about potency of all typs of controlled substances.


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  • Phill

    Great clip/post. I guess its all about getting the most bang for your buck. Hence kids these days “priming up” on 15% woodies….but that’s OK coz its one of those legal, taxable drugs…..
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting a different result. We have been trying the prohibition idea for how long now? and with what results? Time for a change of thinking/policy direction.

    • Pissedoffyouth

      My parents use to drink mix they made themselves that were much stronger than 15%. but Bang for buck is correct.

  • Pissedoffyouth

    The potency argument doesn’t work – if its strong shit regardless of booze or drugs you’ll just have less of it

    • Rex Widerstrom

      Sorry, you’re wrong. I know you’re wrong because I see the after effects in the courts and the jails.

      With alcohol, maybe – the percentage is on the bottle and the effects are fairly quick, and most people have enough experience of the symptoms of intoxication to judge how far along the road to oblivion they’ve traveled.

      Let’s leave aside the drugs brewed in unsanitary conditions in someone’s back shed or kitchen – where you have no idea if today’s point of speed is twice the potency of yesterday’s, or cut with Ajax – and look at abuse of prescription medication.

      An underlying epidemic (only the Victorian government has recognized it & commissioned an inquiry into it) is abuse of alprazolam, aka Xanax. In small doses, a calmative. In larger doses, it can create a reaction worse than the most potent speed – something dubbed “the Rambo effect”.

      But only in some users, and only on some occasions, and at this stage there doesn’t seem to be a steady “trigger point”, where you know you can take 20 and be relaxed but your 21st will always send you over the edge.

      But because it’s easier to get then heroin and cheaper per tab than morphine, those attracted to downers dice with their use. The result is people with absolutely no record of violence – not even disorderly behaviour – meek, quiet people usually, are inflicting horrible acts of violence in people and ending up in jail, for the first time, with a sentence of 5 years and up.

      The Australian government is looking at reclassifying the drug to make it harder for forged prescriptions to be passed, but that will also serve to decrease its illegal availability and push up the price.

      Drugs – even pharmaceutical grade drugs – are unpredictable, especially at abnormally high dosage levels. To think people struggling with addiction make rational choices about their intake is, with respect, deluded.

      • Pissedoffyouth

        Yeah but if you smoke too much weed you fall asleep – you wouldn’t see anyone in court for dealing too-strong weed to someone

      • Polish Pride

        Sorry Rex but you too are wrong. Unfortunately you see only one side of the equation. There are many many people who smoke cannabis semi regularly no different to someone who enjoys a couple of alcoholic beverages every now and then. One of the reasons you see the side that you do is because of prohibition. As a result it is sold by and controlled by criminal elements in society. Be cause of its legal status there is no education around what the effects of it are on a physiological level. In fact many of those who do use it safely still are not aware of its physiological effects. Show me someone who has run into trouble with their use of cannabis and it will be down to serotonin depletion through overuse.
        Yes Alcohol has the percentage on the bottle. Still that hasn’t stopped at least 5 individuals in New Zealand in the past two years making it into the media after they died from simply drinking too much.
        How many people have died from smoking too much cannabis….? None in recorded history. So why is it illegal still and other drugs that can kill you are not – alcohol, tobacco and even coffee.

        I take your point about the use of other drugs such as Xanax but the question that needs to be looked at is would people have turned to such a drug had other alternatives been legal….
        In the UK people were using mag wheel cleaner to get high. Why? because it was legal and easy to get. far more risky than what was available before that. But then the substance they were using before that was made illegal.
        The same thing has happened with synthetic cannabis here in New Zealand. Initially they used nice safe compounds such as JW018 but then as the govt got involved and banned the safer ones the suppliers have come up with products that are far worse, far more addictive and far more risky. There is still demand, There always has been and always will be. But as always prohibition has made the environment far less safe than it was pre prohibition.
        In short prohibition doesn’t work and never will.