Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘puritans’

Paternalists push potent pot proscription

Posted by Richard on April 1, 2016

The folks who fought against legal marijuana in Colorado have been fighting rear-guard actions ever since they lost at the polls, pushing local bans on pot shops, ever tighter restrictions on edibles, etc. Their latest effort involves the old “today’s marijuana is much more dangerous than the stuff you boomers smoked in college” argument:

A proposed ballot initiative and an amendment to a bill in the state House would cap the THC potency of recreational cannabis and marijuana products at a percentage below most of those products’ current averages.

The initiative would limit the potency of “marijuana and marijuana products” to 15 percent or 16 percent THC.

The average potency of Colorado pot products is already higher — 17.1 percent for cannabis flower and 62.1 percent for marijuana extracts, according to a state study.

Supporters of the legislation, introduced byRepublican state Rep. Kathleen Conti, say they’re being cautious until more research has been done and protecting the brain development of adolescents. But opponents say the measures are unreasonable and could squash some of the legal cannabis industry’s most popular categories.

“All the studies that have been done on THC levels have been done on THC levels between 2 and 8 percent,” said Conti, whose district encompasses parts of Greenwood Village and Littleton. “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.”

Let’s apply the same silly argument to another popular intoxicant. The alcohol content by volume (ABV) of the average mass-produced American lager beer is between 4 and 5 percent. The ABV of beers sold in grocery stores is capped at 3.2% (yes, Colorado still clings to that silly restriction). But more and more people are turning to tastier craft beers, and those often have an ABV of 7, 8, or even 10 percent and higher. And who knows what additional risks beer drinkers are taking when they switch from Coors Light to a Double IPA or (horrors!) a barleywine ale? Especially the adolescents. We should cap beer potency at 5% ABV. It’s for the children! (Never mind that it’s already illegal for adolescents to use either alcohol or pot.)

And OMG, what about distilled spirits? Someone who’s used to quaffing a pint or three of 5% ABV beer may not realize the danger of downing a pint or three of 90 proof (45% ABV) bourbon!

Of course, this is nonsense. Except for a small minority with no self-control (many of whom live under a bridge), people imbibe and smoke until they reach a comfortable level of inebriation and then stop. If they’re drinking Coors Light (or smoking 8% THC pot), they drink (smoke) more; if they’re drinking Upslope Imperial IPA (or smoking Purple Lady), they drink (smoke) less. If they’re drinking Bulleit (or vaping a concentrate), they drink (vape) much less.

Limit the THC content of legal marijuana, and users will burn more vegetable matter to achieve the same high, which is bad for their lungs. (Or they’ll switch to black market pot; anyone see an opportunity for a Baptists-and-bootleggers alliance here?)

But then, the puritans secretly believe that pursuers of such sybaritic pleasures deserve to be punished/harmed by them. That’s why it’s illegal for brewers and distillers to add B vitamins to their products, which would significantly reduce the incidence of liver damage among heavy drinkers.

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