Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Margaret Wente dusts off the stale old 'super weed' myth

Behind a pay wall at the Globe and Mail of course. Have you noticed it invariably is, when they know they're spouting complete nonsense? Update: One of my readers found the full piece in all its jaw-dropping absurdity here.

She calls it a 'destructive and addictive' drug, a 'stimulant' that belongs in 'the same league with cocaine'. Of course, any suggestion that pot is a 'stimulant' currently has several people giggling uncontrollably as they read this. Giggling is about the most effort they can manage right now if they're smoking the scary hydro Wente sermonizes about - they certainly don't feel 'stimulated'.

Marijuana of course, is neither a stimulant or a depressive. It is a very mild hallucinogen - so mild that it can't even cause hallucinations, no not even the terrifying - and mythical - killer Hydro. Multiple studies have repeatedly and thoroughly debunked any suggestion that it is physically addictive. As to Wente's contention that today's pot is so much more powerful than, in her words, 'the mellow weed you and I remember from our youth' would it surprise you to discover that Ms Wente was talking out of her ass?

Myth: Pot is ten times more potent and dangerous now than in the 1960's

The notion that pot has increased dramatically in potency is a DEA myth based on biased government data, as shown in a recent NORML report by Dr. John Morgan.(7) Samples of pot from the early '70s came from stale, low-potency Mexican "kilobricks" left in police lockers, whose potency had deteriorated to sub-smokable levels of less than 0.5%. These were compared to later samples of decent-quality domestic marijuana, making it appear that potency had skyrocketed. A careful examination of the government's data show that average marijuana potency increased modestly by a factor of two or so during the seventies, and has been more or less constant ever since.In fact, there is nothing new about high-potency pot. During the sixties, it was available in premium varieties such as Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, etc. , as well as in the form of hashish and hash oil, which were every bit as strong as today's sinsemilla, but were ignored in government potency statistics. While the average potency of domestic pot did increase with the development of sinsemilla in the seventies, the range of potencies available has remained virtually unchanged since the last century, when extremely potent tonics were sold over the counter in pharmacies. In Holland, high-powered hashish and sinsemilla are currently sold in coffee shops with no evident problems.

Contrary to popular myth, greater potency is not necessarily more dangerous, due to the fact that users tend to adjust (or "self-titrate") their dose according to potency. Thus, good quality sinsemilla is actually healthier for the lungs because it reduces the amount of smoke one needs to inhale to get high.

She also mentions how Holland has begun to close pot cafes, implying it's due to a dawning awareness of how deadly pot is - and fails to mention they are actually being shut down because of anti-tobacco legislation.

She also bizarrely claims that it has 'an especially devastating effect among certain ethnic minorities.' No, I'm not kidding. This surreal and offensive claim unavoidably brings to mind the racist hysteria whipped up a century ago by propaganda about 'wetbacks' frenzied by the demon weed.

What does it say for your basic argument if you have to rely on blatant falsehoods, alarmist unsupported rhetoric and reheated racist propaganda in order to make it?

The Globe and Mail should be embarrassed for printing this crap.

UPDATE: The racist crap pisses off the folks at VueWeekly too.

See: Suspended for critical thinking.


CQ said...

Did you mean this full article?

Since their recent web redesign, I haven't been able to load the G&M home page (via dial-up 256k, XP). Alternately however, I surfed upon this complete headline listing page instead. Daycoders ;)

Cliff said...

Thank you - I'm delighted my readers can have the opportunity to judge the full effect of Margaret Wente's inanity themselves.

Matthew The Astrologer said...

"an especially devastating effect among certain ethnic minorities."

Good God, did someone actually watch "Reefer Madness" here in the early 21st Century and take it seriously?!?

Dan said...

I especially love the "pot was fine when I was a kid" argument. What a load of hypocrisy.

Dan said...

"I'm delighted my readers can have the opportunity to judge the full effect of Margaret Wente's inanity themselves."

Cliff be careful, the Wente inanity that you recall in your youth is not nearly as potent as the stuff hitting the streets these days.

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