Pennsylvania officials are poised to classify indoor grown marijuana as hazardous.
Indoor marijuana is normally grown in a solution of nutrients and other chemicals. The chemicals and mold can be dangerous to breathe, said state police Sgt. Tracy Futcher, who directs the state police’s Claudestine Lab Response Team for the Alle-Kiski Valley and other western counties.
In the recent past, police have been sickened by hydroponically-grown marijuana which was indoors in two parts of the Alle-Kiski Valley. The marijuana is grown in liquid in a closed room. Growers also control humidity and light. The process produces the unintended growth of mold, said National Marijuana Initiative director Tommy Lanier.
“The danger is that mold spores can give off toxins,” Lanier said. The toxins can cause illness. He said there are 300 to 500 percent more mold spores in growth rooms than outside because there isn’t ventilation, Lanier said.
“This is strong stuff. The potency is way up there. The THC content is way up,” he said. “It’s 10 times more potent,” Futcher agreed.
A Web site for the White House Office on Drug Policy said marijuana smokers have a greater risk of lung infections and a “greater tendency toward obstructed air-ways” as well as causing memory loss.
The office also asserts that marijuana smoke “contains 50 percent to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke” and consequently “has the potential to promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract.”
Futcher said he will attend a training program this year and will write a standard operating procedure for state police about marijuana safety.
Cannon said indoor grows remain a challenge to deal with. “Alle-Kiski Valley courts don’t always take marijuana charges as seriously as heroin or crack cocaine unless there is a lot of it. Yet we have to remember that this is the drug of choice of the younger kids,” he said.
Cannon and other detectives said there is enough marijuana in the area that they could be totally occupied by it. But they have to spend more time investigating cocaine and heroin sales because those drugs are deadly.
Now this is the first time I’ve seen this tactic from the drug warriors – trying to cast indoor grows as something as dangerous and toxic as a meth lab!
First of all, if you’ve got a grower with any decent knowledge of how to build an indoor grow, the room will be built with adequate ventilation and air filtration. No grower wants mold, and most do everything they can to prevent it.
Second, the increased potency of pot (not 10 times stronger… maybe twice as strong) owes directly to the Iron Law of Prohibition, which says that if you prohibit a drug, you can guarantee it will become more potent. It happened during Prohibition, when sales of beer plummeted in favor of harder whiskeys, because bootleggers had limited supplies and storage. It’s happened with cocaine in the form of crack and with heroin which is cheaper and purer than ever.
However, more potent pot isn’t bad like more potent cocaine, heroin, or alcohol, because pot can’t kill you. Pot smokers smoke to get high, and the effects of smoked marijuana kick in almost instantaneously. So if you had a joint of poor marijuana, you might smoke it all before you felt high, but if you had a joint of potent marijuana, you might smoke a puff and feel quite high enough.
Third, it’s a bald-faced lie to say that marijuana may promote lung cancers when studies by Dr. Donald Tashkin at UCLA Medical School showed, in fact, that marijuana smokers showed no increased risk of lung cancer and that THC may actually have tumor-suppressing properties. Studies also show no increased risk of head and neck cancers.
Finally, I had something to write on that part about memory loss, but it escapes me at the moment… ;) Oh, yeah, studies show that short-term memory loss is shown in marijuana smokers, but only while they are high. Once the marijuana wears off, there are no appreciable differences in the memory skills of tokers and non-tokers.
Seems to me that the police should be concentrating more of their time on heroin and cocaine. Those drugs are deadly, and marijuana is not.