Does the state need to set a pot policy based on its effectiveness?Some people say yes

New York – As marijuana legalization spreads throughout the US states, there will be more debate about whether to set pot policies by effect.

Under a law signed last month, New York will tax recreational marijuana based on the amount of THC, the main addictive chemical in cannabis. Illinois imposed a potency-related tax last year when recreational cannabis went on sale. Vermont has restricted THC content when the statutory market opens soon next year, and restrictions and taxes have been breached in several other states and US Senate drug management caucuses.

Proponents say such measures protect public health by removing what is considered dangerously concentrated cannabis, or at least discouraging it.


“This isn’t your Woodstock weed,” says Kevin Savet, president of Smart Approach to marijuana, an anti-legalization group that has sought an upper limit on potency. “There are some restrictions on the products we sell.”

Opponents argue that THC restrictions could drive people to buy illegally and could start banning pots again because of concerns critics consider to be exaggerated. ..

“It’s Banism 2.0,” said Christina Buccola, a cannabis business lawyer in New York. “If they start capping it, what don’t they cap it?”

THC levels have increased in recent decades. For example, marijuana seized by federal agencies has increased from 4% in 1995 to 12% in 2014. According to state reports, cannabis concentrates sold in Colorado’s statutory market average about 69% THC, with some in the top 90%.


A 2017 in-depth study of cannabis and health by the National Academy of Science and Technology Medicine showed that it is becoming more effective among the factors that “create the potential for an increased risk of adverse health effects.”

Some studies have linked high THC pots to the potential for psychosis and other specific mental health problems, especially when used daily. But there is debate as to whether one causes the other.

Dr. Rachel Knox, an Oregon doctor who advises patients on the use of cannabis in a variety of conditions, says there is no increased risk of mental illness in people who use such products under medical supervision. I am. She opposes the potency of capping, but suggests that products containing more than 70% THC should be reserved for medical users for the duration of the study.

“I think we should treat it with both freedom and children’s gloves,” says Knox, a former chairman of the Oregon Cannabis Commission and a board member of the industry group Minority Cannabis Business Association. ..


However, Colorado pediatrician and state legislator Dr. Yadira Caraveo said he saw the danger of high THC cannabis.

One of her adolescents who used a high-efficiency pot daily was repeatedly hospitalized with severe vomiting associated with high-dose marijuana, and another patient the drug exacerbated his mental health problems. After that, Caraveo said he needed a psychiatric hospitalization. She is thinking of proposing an upper limit on potency.

“I’m not interested in going back to criminalization,” says Democrats, but “why I ran, and what I continue to do in Congress every day, is to protect public health.”

Different states regulate how many milligrams of THC can be used in a single serving, package, or retail sale for at least some products. Vermont has taken a different approach, limiting the proportion of chemicals in all amounts of recreational pots. 30% for flower-shaped marijuana and 60% for concentrates.


Virginia’s new legalization legislation empowers future cannabis authorities to set THC limits, and proposals to limit THC in medical marijuana are drawing attention in the Florida State Capitol. Nationally, the US Senate’s bipartisan Caucus on international drug control proposed last month to study whether federal health agencies should limit their effectiveness.

Proponents of legalization say the cap will backfire.

“Consumer demand for these products will not go away, and re-criminalizing them will only push this consumer base to look for similar products in unregulated illegal markets,” NORML said. Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of the, wrote in a recent editorial. -Edited by Denver Newspaper Westward.


Rather than banning strong pots, some states just make it more expensive.

Marijuana is taxed on selling price or weight in most legal states. However, recreational cannabis taxes are partially dependent on THC content in Illinois and New York.

The California Legislative Analyst Office said the approach “can reduce harmful use more effectively” and recommended a tax effect in 2019. But that same year, the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Commission quoted uncertainty about how switching from state sales tax would affect consumption, public health, and income, which is not feasible. Said.

Effective taxes have a positive side for the state. It’s a more stable income than sales tax, says Carl Davis, a progressive think tank at the Institute for Tax and Economic Policy. This is because in mature markets the total sales tax can go down with the price.

Small cannabis companies have their downsides, says Amber Little John, secretary general of the Minority Cannabis Business Association. She worries that if THC taxes drive customers to underground dealers and large multinationals that may be able to reduce prices, they will lose.


Instead, Little John states that efficacy policies should focus on research and rigorous labeling and marketing requirements, and the industry needs to address them.

“This is an absolutely new issue, and one that needs to be addressed,” she said.


The Associated Press writer Sarah Rankin from Richmond, Virginia contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Does the state need to set a pot policy based on its effectiveness?Some people say yes

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