Intriguing Truths: Marijuana Exposed
Marijuana (cannabis, weed, pot, reefer, grass, dope, Mary Jane, etc.) is a green, brown or gray mixture of dried shredded leaves, stems, seeds and flowers from the Indian hemp plant (cannabis sativa). The key chemical responsible for the “high” in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the reason why it is classified as illicit.1 Marijuana is widely used recreationally and now it’s sold legally in five states. Many more states have considered or are currently considering legislation to legalize its personal use. The laws governing this in each of the five states vary, but all include explicit, strict guidelines. Marijuana must be purchased at state-regulated dispensaries in set amounts and in some instances, people can grow a small amount for personal use. States also vary in regards to marijuana DUIs, with some deeming any presence of a drug in the driver’s body as grounds for a DUI charge, regardless of whether the driver is impaired. No known cases of overdoses or deaths attributed to marijuana alone have ever been reported. Marijuana is addictive and often abused with other substances, which can exacerbate the dangers.
The number of people who use marijuana outnumbers vegans by more than 20 to one.
In 2015, an estimated 22.2 million Americans ages 12 or older were current users of marijuana.2 While that’s roughly three times the number of vegetarians (7.3 million), only 1 million people are vegans in the U.S.3
Nearly 1 million more teens smoke pot than cigarettes.
In 2015, 1.8 million or 7% of adolescents ages 12-17 were current users of marijuana. That means 800,000 more 12-17-year-olds were smoking pot than cigarettes in 2015.2 The same year, 78.5% of teens ages 12-17 were smartphone users, however, this number was projected to increase to 89% in 2017.4
The surge in marijuana sales could match broadband internet growth of 2002-2007.
According to a new report, Americans and Canadians spent $53.3 billion on marijuana in 2016. The illegal market constituted 87% or $46 billion of that total. The same report projected the legal marijuana market will expand from $6.9 billion currently to $21.6 billion by 2021. This will be fueled by California, Massachusetts and Canada expanding cannabis sales, and medical marijuana launching in Florida. If this projection remains accurate, the growth in marijuana sales will nearly rival the expansion of broadband internet from 2002-2007, which soared from $7 billion to slightly more than $25 billion.5
So-called eco-friendly marijuana is linked to air pollution when grown indoors.
A 2011 report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory indicated a small amount of marijuana grown indoors (for just a single joint) produced 2 pounds of carbon dioxide, the same as running a 100-watt light bulb for 17 hours. Producing 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) delivers the same carbon emissions as driving across the country five times in a car that gets 44 miles to the gallon.6
There are more marijuana dispensaries in Colorado than Starbucks!
As of August 1, 2017, there were 507 medical marijuana licensed facilities and 460 retail marijuana stores in Colorado.7 While Starbucks closed its only store in the ski resort of Aspen on August 20, Green Dragon, which currently owns 10 marijuana stores in Aspen, Breckenridge and Glenwood Springs, is expanding to the ski resort town Telluride. Green Dragon was dubbed the “Starbucks of Marijuana” by one competitor.8
Chicago drug bust enough for 14.3 million marijuana joints!
In December 2010, seven men were arrested in a $22 million drug bust, a case federal officials said was the largest single marijuana seizure ever in the Chicago area. Federal officials estimated nearly 11 tons or 9.98 million grams of marijuana were packed into six railroad cars from Mexico that arrived at a warehouse in south suburban Chicago Heights.9
Huge drug busts uncovers nearly 16 tons of marijuana, not mattresses!
In 2015, agents at the California/Mexico border seized 31,598 pounds of cannabis in their largest marijuana bust ever. The drivers were attempting to smuggle the contraband across the border in a cargo truck supposedly hauling mattresses.10 In actuality, this weight equates to approximately 702 twin size, 564 full size or 445 queen size mattresses. That much bedding would require an enormous caravan of trucks!11
You could buy one candy bar nearly every day of the year for the price of one ounce of cannabis.
The price of marijuana differs considerably from state to state. In Colorado, where it is legal, one ounce (28 grams) costs about $240.00 for high quality cannabis. In Tennessee, where it is illegal, one ounce of high quality cannabis costs $347.00.12 At $1.00 a bar, you could buy 240 52.2 gram Milky Way candy bars (rated the #1 candy bar in America in 2013)13 in Colorado or 347 in Tennessee for the same amount spent on 28 grams of marijuana.
- What is Marijuana? Drug Free World website. http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/marijuana.html Accessed August 5, 2017.
- Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015.pdf Updated November 7, 2016. Accessed August 5, 2017.
- Vegetarian Statistics. Statistic Brain website. http://www.statisticbrain.com/vegetarian-statistics/ Published August 18, 2016. Accessed August 5, 2017.
- Teens’ Ownership of Smartphones Has Surged. eMarketer website. https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Teens-Ownership-of-Smartphones-Has-Surged/1014161 Published July 5, 2016. Accessed August 5, 2017.
- Grenoble R. North Americans Spent $53.3 Billion On Marijuana Last Year, Most Of It. Huffington Post. January 17, 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/legal-cannabis-industry-growth-2016-marijuana_us_587e785be4b0cf0ae88070c0 Accessed August 52017.
- Growing Pot May Not Be So Green. Live Science website. https://www.livescience.com/31980-growing-pot-carbon-emissions.html Published May 14, 2013. Accessed August 5, 2017.
- MED Licensed Facilities. Colorado State website. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/enforcement/med-licensed-facilities Published August 1, 2017. Accessed August 5, 2017.
- Green Dragon “Starbucks of Marijuana” expanding to Telluride. CRM High Tours website. http://coloradorockymountainhightours.com/green-dragon-dispensary-expanding/ Published July 11, 2017. Accessed August 5, 2017.
- 7 Arrested In $22M Marijuana Bust. CBS Chicago website. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2010/12/16/7-arrested-in-chicagos-largest-pot-bust/ Published December 16, 2010. Accessed August 5, 2017.
- US border officials got their second-biggest marijuana seizure in America’s history. Business Insider website. http://www.businessinsider.com/r-us-border-officials-seize-record-15-tons-of-pot-at-california-border-2015-2 February 28, 2015. Accessed August 5, 2017.
- How Much Do Mattresses Weigh? Furniture website. https://www.furniture.com/mattress/guide/faq/how-much-do-mattresses-weigh Accessed August 5, 2017.
- How Much Does Weed Really Cost In Every State? Herb website. http://herb.co/2017/05/15/weed-cost-state/ Published May 15, 2017. Accessed August 5, 2017.
Orchant R. The Best 25 Candy Bars of All Time, In Order. Huffington Post. September 30, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/30/best-candy-bar-worst-photos_n_4004468.html Accessed August 5, 2017.