I notice Bob Newland’s petition efforts went for naught, as Meade County voters came to the polls on August 30 to reject the proposal Newland’s employers initiated to break the Puffy’s monopoly and allow multiple medical cannabis licenses in Meade County. The initiative failed with 719 votes for and 1426 against.
Maybe that rejection is for the best. Another Black Hills reader sends this article alleging that the addiction industry has cranked marijuana into a psychosis-inducing super-drug:
Prior to legalization, marijuana plants were bred to produce higher and higher concentrations of THC, a naturally occuring chemical compound in the plant that induces euphoria and alters users’ perceptions of reality. In the 1960s, the stuff the hippies were smoking was less than 2% THC. By the ’90s, it was closer to 5%. By 2015, it was over 20%. “It’s a freak plant that resembles nothing of what has existed in nature,” said Laura Stack, a public speaker who has advocated against the industry since her son, Johnny, killed himself three years ago at 19 years old after years of cannabis abuse drove him into psychosis.
…If you’re over 30 years old and you used to smoke weed when you were a teenager, the strongest you were smoking was probably 20% THC. Today, teenagers are “dabbing” a product that’s three, four, or five times stronger, and are often doing so multiple times a day. At that level of potency, the impact of the drug on a user’s brain belongs to an entirely different category of risk than smoking a joint or taking a bong rip of even an intensively bred marijuana flower. It’s highly addictive, and over time, there’s a significant chance it can drive you insane.
…“One out of every 20 daily users can expect to develop schizophrenia if they don’t quit,” Dr. Christine Miller, an expert on psychotic disorders, told me [Leighton Woodhouse, “How Weed Became the New OxyContin,” Tablet, 2022.08.30].
The corporations pushing this new dangerous addiction appear to be the usual suspects:
To imagine the market potential for a legal, highly addictive drug, all you have to do is look at the colossal success of the industries that pioneered the addiction business: tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceuticals. Today, all three are heavily invested in cannabis. In 2019, Altria, the parent company of Marlboro cigarettes, acquired 45% of Cronos, one of the world’s biggest cannabis companies. Constellation Brands, a major alcohol conglomerate, has billions invested in Canopy, another cannabis company. Last year, Jazz Pharmaceuticals acquired GW Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes one of the four FDA-approved, cannabis-derived drugs. Even a former CEO of Purdue Pharma, the company that made OxyContin, co-founded a medical marijuana company called Emblem after helping to create the modern opioid epidemic.
“People think it’s a miracle drug, that it’s nonaddictive, that it helps with cancer and anxiety,” said Jordan Davidson, who recovered from cannabis addiction and now works for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which advocates against the expansion of the cannabis industry. “It’s more like Big Tobacco 2.0” [Woodhouse, 2022.08.30].
I have my suspicions about the disingenuous conservative theocrats fighting Initiated Measure 27’s legalization of marijuana under the pretense of protecting kids. But I also have my suspicions about the drugs peddled by big corporations. Maybe the suspicions harbored by the majority of poll respondents who oppose legalizing marijuana in South Dakota aren’t too far off the mark.
I’m not crazy about marijuana, and I’d rather not go crazy from it. No matter how many stores Meade County has for medical cannabis, and no matter how much pot South Dakotans may legalize with their vote on Initiated Measure 27 this November, I won’t be adding the demon weed to my shopping list.