The chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas, is probably the most Reefer Mad elected official in Washington.
In a nation with Jeff Sessions (no relation) as Attorney General, that’s saying something!
I’ve covered Sessions on the podcast before, including choice sound clips where he proclaims that marijuana is a gateway drug, we’re allowing “merchants of addiction” to sell marijuana legally in some states, and he knows that people who die from opioid overdose are dying of addiction, which, of course, starts with marijuana use.
Here’s the full clip from Pete Sessions:
Tom’s got a great piece on Marijuana Moment today to help you understand just how much of an obstacle this one man, Pete Sessions, is to federal marijuana reform. I, however, just want to focus on how desperate the rhetoric of the anti-legalization forces have become.
Because if you believe Pete Sessions, Cheech & Chong must have been smoking industrial hemp!
“I referred to marijuana as merchants, this is a merchants of addiction, they are making it more powerful and more powerful and more powerful,” Sessions said. “When I went to high school … in 1973, I graduated, marijuana, on average, is 300 times more powerful. That becomes an addictive element for a child to then go to the next thing.”
300 times more powerful?!?
You can debunk this madness from either direction on the timeline.
In the marijuana shops within walking distance here at Delta-9 House & Studios, I can purchase marijuana flower that rates as high as 28.9 percent THC content. Dividing by 300 tells me Sessions’ 1973 high school stoners were toking on joints with 0.096 percent THC.
In other words, weed with about one-third the high of industrial hemp (international standard = 0.3 percent THC).
Or we can look at the federal government’s data on average potency of marijuana seizures. On page 15, we find the “arithmetic cannabinoid averages of domestic cannabis samples” in the year 1975 (earliest data) to be 1.99 percent THC. Multiplying by 300 tells us Sessions thinks we’re toking on 597 percent THC flower.
Even if we give Sessions the benefit of comparing today’s concentrate to yesterday’s flower, his claim is still ludicrous.
Just eight blocks away I can purchase extracts that rate as high as 77 percent THC. Doing that division by 300 gives me 1973 joints testing out at 0.256 percent THC – again, industrial hemp levels.
Truth is, marijuana products have become more potent, but by a factor of two or three since the 1970s, not 300.
However, the potency of marijuana is a red herring, because THC is non-toxic.
The action of a molecule upon a receptor is what triggers the sensations that may lead someone into drug dependence.
How many of those molecules are present in a certain concentration in the drug delivery is relevant only in how it relates to potential overdose death, not in its dependence potential.
For instance, if you drink a case of beer, you will get drunk. If you drink two bottles of wine, you will get drunk. If you drink eight shots of tequila you will get drunk.
But it’s not a different drunk and none of those three options portends a greater chance of you becoming an alcoholic. It doesn’t matter that the beer is 6 percent alcohol, the wine is 14 percent alcohol, and the tequila is 40 percent alcohol. Drunk is drunk is drunk.
Except when it goes from drunk to alcohol poisoning.
So, we have instituted different laws, standards, and cultural norms around drinking alcohol of greater potency.
Drinking beer, in and of itself, doesn’t compel a drinker to want to move up to whiskey.
The addiction that may result from drinking alcohol doesn’t then compel the drinker to start smoking weed or doing drugs, either. Funny how the proponents of the “gateway theory” always fail to consider alcohol and nicotine as gateway drugs.