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Archive for April 25th, 2007

Cannabis Capitalism Comes Out of the Closet

Posted by dowbrigade on 25th April 2007

closetqWASHINGTON (Reuters) – The marijuana being sold across the United States is stronger than ever, which could explain a growing number of medical emergencies that involve the drug, government drug experts on Wednesday.

Analysis of seized samples of marijuana and hashish showed that more of the cannabis on the market is of the strongest grade, the White House and National Institute for Drug Abuse said.

They cited data from the University of Mississippi’s Marijuana Potency Project showing the average levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in the products rose from 7 percent in 2003 to 8.5 percent in 2006.

The level had risen steadily from 3.5 percent in 1988.

from Reuters

This has been a regular recurring story now for going on 20 years, which can be scientifically confirmed by independent researchers around the country, including (full disclosure) several associated with the Dowbrigade Research and Development Department (DRDD). Let’s go to the archives.

During the initial invasion of pot-smoking hippies in the late 60’s and early 70’s, most of the marijuana was local scrub weed, gone to seed and poorly cured. In the rich American loam the variety of cannabis (hemp) grown extensively throughout the mid-West during WWII for making strong, durable rope, grows to monstrous proportions. Specimens have been seen over 20 feet high and as thick around at the stump as a telephone pole. Smoking this variety of pot, with a THC level of about 0.5% had little effect unless large quantities were consumed, in which case a wicked headache could be achieved.

During this period the “primo” pot on the street was driven up from Mexico, and weighed in at about 2.5% THC.

The 1970’s was the heyday of “commercial Colombian”, grown by the first of the grand Colombian Cartels, on huge, well-protected plantations by the ton, shipped to the US aboard a network of phantom freighters and ferried ashore by sleek cigarette boats that could out-run anything the Coast Guard could put in the water. It was undistinguished but strong, tipping the scales at about 3% THC.

In the 1980’s the continued growth in numbers, affluence and sophistication of marijuana consumers led to the development of higher-quality, outdoor domestic production, primarily in isolated areas of Texas and the Pacific northwest. The seed stock was gathered by itinerant world travelers in cultures where cannabis cultivation was a time-honored tradition.

In these cultures programmed interbreeding, stem splicing (a primitive form of genetic manipulation) and closely controlled growing conditions had produced super-active strains many generations old, which reached THC concentrations of 5 or 6%. This is a process of guided natural selection somewhat akin to evolution, in this case producing a much more potent product.

From Colombia, Panama, Afghanistan, Thailand, and Nepal came the seeds, tiny arks of arcane knowledge, to our shores, where they were transformed by modern techniques of manipulated plant genetics and American ingenuity into the multi-billion dollar domestic marijuana industry which is meeting the demands of discerning consumers today.

By the 90’s most domestic production had moved indoors, and sales of hydroponic potting beds, grow-lux lighting arrays and high-nutrient liquid growing medium skyrocketed. Current crops can have THC levels of 8-10%.

Local police and DEA agents have started to search for these grow houses by reviewing secondary evidence of the operations; receipts for lights and plant food, ridiculously high electrical bills in seemingly unoccupied properties, banks of lights seen to go on and off in unison at regular intervals, even the infra-red heat signature of the house itself, as measured by heat-sensitive instruments in unmarked cars or even helicopters.

This tendency has resulted in several interesting court cases questioning whether training sophisticated electronic detectors on a house without a search warrant constituted an unconstitutional search, and therefore makes any subsequent seizure inadmissible. In California v. McGillicutty…..but we digress. What was the topic, anyway? Oh yeah, the increasing potency of street weed in the US.

Although it surely doesn’t figure in the University of Mississippi study, one prime result of the increase is that millions of dope fiends are smoking less and enjoying it more.

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