Okay, even I’m beginning to grow really, really tired of debunking this tripe.
Leave it to the ever exploitive folks at CASA (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University) to jump on the phony “It’s not your father’s pot” bandwagon. Their bogus claim — which CNN embarrassingly bought hook, line, and sinker — is that today’s allegedly stronger pot is responsible for the spike in the number of Americans enrolled in ‘drug treatment’ for cannabis.
From 1992 — 2006:
— There was a 175 percent jump in the potency of marijuana (3.2 to 8.8 percent THC concentration in seized samples).
— There was a 492 percent increase in the proportion of teen treatment admissions with a medical diagnosis for marijuana abuse or dependence, compared with a 54 percent decline for all other substances of abuse.
— There was a 188 percent increase in the proportion of teen treatment admissions for marijuana as the primary drug of abuse, compared with a 54 percent decline for all other substances of abuse.
Notwithstanding that the potency figures cited by U-Miss are by the government’s own admission utter bullcrap, let me try to once again set the record straight in as few words as possible.
The recent spike in so-called marijuana ‘treatment’ admissions has nothing to do with marijuana; rather, it has everything to do with the public policies that criminalize its possession and use.
Noticeably absent from CASA’s press release (and CNN’s hatchet job) is the fact that marijuana arrests skyrocketed during this same period — from a modern low of 288,000 in 1991 to a record 830,000 in 2006.
Predictably, as record numbers of minor marijuana offenders have been arrested, a record number of judges and drug courts have been ordering defendants to attend ‘drug treatment’ in lieu of jail or as a requirement of their probation.
Nationally, according to data compiled by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration and published here, nearly 60 percent of all adolescents admitted to drug treatment for cannabis were ordered there by the criminal justice system. This percentage is almost a 50 percent increase since 1992. During this same time frame, “The proportion of admissions from [all] other referral sources declined.”
In other words, if Drug Czar John Walters and his ilk hadn’t been on a pot-arresting rampage over the past decade and a half — a rampage largely fueled by lies perpetuated by the likes of CASA and regurgitated by the talking heads at CNN — there would likely be fewer Americans in drug treatment for pot now than there were 16 years ago!
On a final note, I want to thank NORML podcaster extraordinaire Russ Belville for so diligently assisting me these past few days in debunking these ‘potent pot’ myths. If you have not heard his articulate call in to The Dr. Drew radio show yesterday — a call that left the good doctor tongue-tied — I suggest you immediately download an archive of the show (of which Drug Czar John Walters and I were both guests) here. Russ also has a comprehensive transcript of and rebuttal to the Drug Czar’s ridiculous on-air statements here.