The Marijuana Policy Initiative

Prevent Don't Promote Drug Use–Do You Want More Marijuana in Your Community or Less?

A volunteer non-partisan coalition of people from across the US and Canada who have come to understand the negative local-to-global public health and safety implications of an organized, legal, freely-traded, commercialized and industrialized marijuana market.

Heavy Use, High Potency, Real Dangers of Pot Commercialization

Heavy use and high potency commercialized marijuana are real dangers of pot commercialization. Already this latest addiction for profit industry is proved to follow the others: 80% of profits come from 20% of daily chronic users. And as prices inevitably collapse with over supply, so do the tax revenues leaving insufficient funding for health services, regulation, enforcement and prevention.

This is unprecedented — a side effect of pot commercialization: much more heavy use of a much more potent drug.

This pot market takes on a life of its own. It quickly slips out of control. Agricultural economics and commodity market stampedes.

  • supply goes up
  • prices plummet
  • a glut of product results
  • cheap excess drug gets pushed onto new consumers
  • potency is driven up as producers try to differentiate their products
  • more people use more potent pot more often
  • predictable health and mental health consequences

See links below:

Marijuana in Massachusetts: Legalization advocates warn of ‘Walmart Weed’ and ‘Pabst Blue Ribbon’ pot

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/10/marijuana_in_massachusetts_leg.html

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Wholesale pot prices at all-time low in Colorado
SteamboatToday.com

[data from a for-profit market analysis firm]

http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/wholesale-pot-prices-at-all-time-low-in-colorado/

Excerpt:

In the 12 months from July 1, 2016, through June 30 of this year, Colorado’s pot price has plunged by just over 40 percent,” according to the report, sliding from $1,994 per pound to the aforementioned all-time low of $1,181.

Additionally, Colorado has experienced the most dramatic year-over-year decline and the most significant drop in volume-weighted average for any state with a legal cannabis market.

…Prices are lower in states with adult-use legalization, even though demand is significantly stronger. Generally, this is due to those states allowing production that is more than adequate to meet demand, with hundreds of businesses vying fiercely for market share and consumer attention, while also being forced to implement efficiencies in cultivation and product manufacturing in order to compete and stay afloat.”

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What to do when the price of cannabis drops like a bowling ball?

[Pot Proliferation? ]

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/14/what-to-do-when-the-price-of-cannabis-drops-like-a-bowling-ball/

“For governments collecting the tax revenue, the fact must count as one enormous buzz-kill. Especially when you consider that an eighth of an ounce goes a long way in the possession of a casual user.”

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Is It a Problem That the Price of Legal Weed Is Falling?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/5gkxbq/the-price-of-legal-weed-is-falling-now-what

According to calculations done (for a not-yet-published paper) by Professor Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University, based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 40 percent of those who consume pot at all in the course of a month report using on 25 or more days during that month. About half of those daily or near-daily users—according to their own answers to survey questions—show signs of substance use disorder. That means they use the drug more often than they want to, or they can’t stop using, and that it’s causing conflicts with other people and making it harder for them to go to school, hold down a job, or deal with other responsibilities. With the number of heavy daily cannabis users up seven-fold over the past 20 years (according to Caulkins), the spread of cannabis overconsumption isn’t something that we can safely ignore, and falling prices are likely to make the problem worse.

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The Real Dangers of Marijuana
| National Affairs

http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-real-dangers-of-marijuana

“…The essential problem with marijuana is neither death from overdose nor organ failure from chronic use. Marijuana might better be described as a performance-degrading drug and, more dangerously, as a temptation commodity with habituating tendencies.”

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Here’s one marijuana trend you should actually be worried about

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/11/heres-one-marijuana-trend-you-should-actually-be-worried-about/

“The latest federal survey data shows … adult use is rising. The percent of people over the age of 18 who smoke it in a given year has risen from 10.4 percent in 2002 to 14.1 percent in 2016. In other words, 46 million people got high last year.

In and of itself, the increase in adult marijuana use isn’t particularly alarming. Public-health researchers are typically more worried about adolescent drug use, which can derail a young person’s life. If more adults are smoking marijuana once or twice a year — even once or twice a month — it’s not really a huge concern.

More concerning, though, is the number of people who are getting high all the time — heavy users who smoke on a daily or near-daily basis. The federal data shows that those numbers are increasingly precipitously.

In 2016,  nearly 19 percent of people who used marijuana that year used it at least 300 days out of the year. That figure’s up by roughly 50 percent from 2002, when 12 percent of marijuana users consumed the drug daily or near-daily.”

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The end of marijuana prohibition is necessary and inevitable. But the referenda facing voters will create new problems, even as they solve old ones. 

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2016/11/america_is_legalizing_marijuana_wrong.html

“Cannabis Use Disorder Is a Real and Growing Problem

In 1992, only 9 percent of current (past-month) cannabis users reported being heavy users (25 or more days per month). In 2014, that figure had risen to 40 percent. Those “daily/near-daily,” or DND, users consume about three times as much per day of use as less-frequent smokers. Right now, there are about 8 million DND users (up about sevenfold over the past two decades). Collectively, they account for more than 80 percent of cannabis sales, which explains why cannabis stores feature the sort of superstrong pot that’s way too intense for many casual users but that heavy users (who have become tolerant to the effects of THC) need to get stoned.

About half of those DND users—4 million people at any one time—self-report the symptoms of cannabis use disorder (the new diagnostic label for what used to be called “abuse” or “dependency”). That’s some combination of: (a) using more, and more often, than they want or intend to; (b) failing in attempts to cut back; (c) spending so much time stoned that it interferes with their other plans and responsibilities; and (d) coming into conflict with people they care about due to their cannabis use.

A key question to ask about any proposal for legalization is “What’s the plan for stemming the growth of cannabis use disorder?” The current answer, from legalizers and prohibitionists alike, is largely the sound of crickets: The legalizers want to downplay the problem while the warriors don’t want to admit the possibility of moderate and therefore harmless use.”

… the Effects on Juveniles Is a Serious One

“On the other hand, some of the data about heavy use by juveniles, and especially about effects on educational performance, are pretty scary. The recent upsurge in heavy cannabis use has shown up far more in adults than in minors, and we should endeavor to keep it from moving down the age distribution. Putting money into “prevention” programs is not a solution. Keeping cannabis expensive and restricting its marketing (not just its marketing to juveniles) would help.”

“Cannabis Prices Have Been Falling—and That’s Not a Good Thing

The price per ounce or per gram is a poor guide to understanding the cannabis market. After all, consumers aren’t buying plant material or concentrate; they’re buying hours of intoxication. Over the past 20 years, the average price of a gram of pot has been relatively stable at about $10 (which, of course, means that it’s been eaten away by inflation to some extent). But the THC concentration in that gram has increased dramatically, from low-to-mid-single-digit percentages to the mid-to-high teens. (Some of that change reflects agronomy; the rest is the shift from selling mostly leaves to selling almost exclusively flowers.)

The effective price of 20 milligrams of THC—roughly speaking, enough to get a user who hasn’t built up a drug tolerance high for about three hours —has fallen from about $5 to about $1. (Not all of that THC gets into the bloodstream; some is lost in the smoking process.) At less than 50 cents per intoxicated hour, cannabis is already a far more cost-effective recreational drug than beer. That doesn’t matter much to someone using a fifth of a gram once a week, but it matters a lot to someone using three grams every day. And it might matter to cash-constrained teenagers: High prices could help prevent them from using more than occasionally.”