In an article recently published by Forbes, author Jacob Sullum—an expert on the war on drugs—wrote about what he called the year’s “five best drug scares.”
He described a drug scare as a largely fabricated narrative—a tall tale—about a particular substance that circulates as if it were fact and that ends up creating a significant degree of cultural fear and anxiety.
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Not surprisingly, the first drug scare Sullum focused on had to do with marijuana.
In particular, he described a newly created fear surrounding the supposed invasion of “super-potent pot.”
Sullum pointed to former drug czar Bill Bennett and New Jersey politician Robert White as key players in creating and spreading this new wave of anti-marijuana propaganda.
In their book, Going to Pot, which was published earlier this year, Bennett and White claim that today’s average cannabis strain is so much more potent than any other strain of cannabis throughout history that we can no longer even consider them the same plant.
“You cannot consider it the same substance when you look at the dramatic increase in potency,” the duo argued in their book.
“It is like comparing a twelve-ounce glass of beer with a twelve-ounce glass of 80 proof vodka; both contain alcohol, but they have vastly different effects on the body when consumed.”
Anti-pot lawmakers and law enforcement officials immediately grabbed onto these types of arguments in their attempts to retrench the war on drugs.
Sullum pointed to an op-ed written by Scotts Bluff, Nebraska Sheriff Mark Overman as a good representation of how this works.
In his opinion piece, Overman wrote that “almost all of the marijuana that we see originates in Colorado.”
He went on to claim that “the potency has increased dramatically,” to the point that the average “smoking variety” of Colorado-produced ganja “commonly tests over 20 percent.”
Sheriff Overman went so far as to claim that edibles coming out of Colorado “have THC levels as high as 90 percent.”
Sullum ultimately made the case that Bennett, White, Overman, and the rest of their ilk are simply trying to create a new generation of fear surrounding cannabis with which they can continue waging the war on drugs.
He shot down these efforts by pointing out that cannabis retailers in Colorado are required to list the potency of the strains they sell.
Of the 57 varieties listed by The Green Solution, for example, 36 of them had THC levels lower than the 20 percent threshold Sheriff Overman cited. In fact, Sullum reported, many of these strains were significantly lower than 20 percent.
In the end, it seems that those in favor of continuing the war on drugs are reverting to their classic strategy of propaganda-spreading and fear-mongering.
The strangest twist of all, however, is that we’d actually be thrilled if Sheriff Overman’s made-up strains of high potency bud and his fearful 90 percent THC edibles really did exist.
Overman, Bennett, and White are actually describing a pothead’s dream come true!