The THC content of weed has risen like crazy in the last several decades. In 1974, your average jay contained weed with only 0.74 percent of the psychoactive element, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse. By 2008, maryjane had got a significant boost up to 8 percent THC. Fast forward to last year when RB-26’s Gorilla Glue #4 was found by SC Labs to contain a ridiculous 33.5 percent.
If things keep going like this, we’re going to hit the kind bud singularity, but some conservative lawmakers in Colorado want to make sure that doesn’t happen. A ballot initiative was recently submitted to the state congress which would limit the THC content of weed and weed extracts to either 15 or 16 percent, and also add other measures to drive down consumption of legal cannabis, according to The Cannabist.
Currently, the average tetrahydrocannabinol goodness of flower in Colorado is 17.1 percent, according to a recent study, so capping it at just a percentage point or two lower than that wouldn’t be that much of a biggy for your average cannabis consumer. But applying the same rubric for extracts, which average at 62.1 percent potency, would effectively end the legal market for hash oil in the state.
The authors of this bill, including Republican Rep. Kathleen Conti, are likely well-intentioned but not likely all that well informed on cannabis science and business. “I don’t think a lot of thought was put into the proposals,” Mark Slaugh, Cannabis Business Alliance executive director, told The Cannabist.
Slaugh also said that, if passed, the bill would send consumers and patients to the black and gray cannabis markets, as well as “threaten to wipe out most infused product manufacturers.”
For their part, the makers of the bill feel that marijuana of extreme potency hasn’t been tested in the long term (since it hasn’t been around that long), so there’s no way to know for sure what the long term health effects of the new super-duper strains are going to be, especially on kids.
“All the studies that have been done on THC levels have been done on THC levels between 2 and 8 percent,” said Rep. Conti. “Most of the marijuana coming in now, the flowers are being rated at a THC count of about 17 percent on average, so this is dramatically over, and we really don’t know that we’ve gotten the true feel on the health risks associated with that marijuana.”
The ballot would threaten those who sold bud or extract exceeding 15 percent with a fine of up to $100,000. It would also impose mandatory health warnings on the packages of cannabis and cannabis products on the hazards of smoking cannabis such as “birth defects and reduced brain development,” “permanent loss of abilities,” and “potential for long-term addiction” (none of which are backed by the scientific community at large.
The legislature was presented to the state’s House Finance Committee on Monday and has not yet been scheduled for a vote.
Photo via Flickr user ___ariel___