Drugs + capitalism + innovation = ?

Andrew Sullivan directs us to a story on “dabs”, a highly concentrated cannabis product:

Most commonly created by a technique in which high quality pot is blasted with butane that is then extracted, these cannabis concentrates approach 70%-to-90% THC. … Brad Gibbs, of Greenest Green, which has just opened a new state-approved lab in Denver Co., filled with $100,000 in equipment, specializing in BHO, says that the new product is so superior, buds will eventually disappear, at least among, “our generation,”—users under 40. “Dabs are the future of cannabis, both recreational and medicinal,” he adds.

The article links to a High Times article expressing concern about the PR impact of this product for the legalization movement:

Assuming we’re able to dismiss the health risks, there is still the public-relations issue: namely, that because the techniques used to make and consume BHO bear an eerie resemblance to those used for harder drugs like meth and crack – and because its potency is so much higher than regular weed – dabbing is ripe for exploitation by the prohibition propaganda machine. At a time when the acceptance of marijuana among the general public is higher than ever, there’s a fear that seeing teenagers wielding blowtorches or blowing themselves up on the evening news might incite a new anti-pot paranoia that could set the legalization movement back decades.

I am reminded of a talk by Bill White on drug trends. He closed by saying something like, “I can’t tell you what the major drugs of abuse of tomorrow will be, but I can tell you that they are already here, and that they will become a problem when someone develops new ways to use them.” To understand his point, consider the impact of the syringe on opiate use and the impact of “rocking” cocaine into crack on that drug’s use. With crack, in particular, it’s worth noting that everyone knew about freebasing for years, but the real innovation in crack was a cheap and easy way to make the freebase experience available to large numbers of users.

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