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August 2004
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In your face, Drug Czar, says NORML

NORML takes on the Drug Czar with their newest release discussing the DOJ’s new report (pdf).

New Federal Report Contradicts Drug Czar’s Claims

Washington, DC: A newly released federal report refutes claims by US
Drug Czar John Walters that the United States is being inundated with
Canadian pot, that the drug’s potency is dramatically rising, and that
marijuana poses a greater public health threat than heroin or cocaine.

According to the US Department of Justice report, “National Drug
Threat Assessment 2004,” the overwhelming majority of commercial grade
marijuana consumed in the US comes from California and Mexico. The report
further adds that Hawaii, not Canada, is the US’ “leading source of high
potency marijuana.” The report estimated that between 10,000 and 24,000
metric tons of marijuana is available in the US.

In recent months, Walters has testified that the US marijuana market
is being inundated with high potency cannabis from British Columbia,
dubbing it the “crack of marijuana.” Most recently, Walters has claimed
that this influx of Canadian pot is directly responsible for sending
rising numbers of Americans to the emergency room.

According to the DOJ report, however, increased mentions of marijuana
during emergency room visits “in recent years have not been significant,”
and account for less than ten percent of all drug mentions. The report
further stated that the average THC content of US commercial grade
marijuana is around five percent, despite claims by Walters that today’s
marijuana potency levels are “10 to 20 times stronger” than they were a
generation ago.

Authors of the report note that despite federal and state anti-drug
efforts, marijuana remains “widely available” in the United States, with
“98.2 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide
[describing] marijuana availability as high or moderate.” Nevertheless,
only 13 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies identified
marijuana as “their greatest drug threat,” and less than five percent
identified pot as “the drug most contributing to violent crime in their
areas.”

The release of the DOJ report came on the eve of an announcement from
the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy that the
administration plans “to shift some of the focus in research and
enforcement from ‘hard’ drugs such as cocaine and heroin to marijuana.”

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