by William Skink
Missoula hosted the 9th annual Crime Prevention Conference this week at the University. I had a chance to catch some of it today, including the first half of a presentation about drug culture trends put on by Officer Galloway, who you can read up on here.
I had mixed feelings about the portion of the presentation I observed because it focused primarily on the evolution of methods used to get stoned on the weed, and these new methods were depicted in the most negative way to cast the darkest shadow on the “train coming down the tracks” to destroy youth vis a vis successful legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington.
The problem is Officer Galloway isn’t wrong about the dangers he was talking about because we’re not just talking about pot anymore. We’re talking about hash oil, wax, shatter, and other names that refer to a whole new product line of cannabis extracts and concentrates that blow the traditional THC levels (15%) of cannabis out of the water (some extracts are as high as 92%). Not only have there been hospitalizations from over-use, leading to panic attacks, hallucinations and other behavior more commonly seen from using stimulants and psychedelics, but there are also people literally blowing themselves up trying to extract the THC with butane, which we saw here in Missoula last October.
The new methods of using various types of vaporizers have created even more problems, like reducing odor, making drugs harder to detect. And because legal products, like nicotine oils, are used in some of these devices, anyone trying to determine if drugs are being used are going to have a very difficult time.
And when I say drugs, I’m not just talking about cannabis and its derivative products. Other synthetics are getting thrown into the mix, like Spice, bath-salts, and other awful chemical concoctions that may be MDMA, or may be Meth.
Officer Galloway made it clear: advocates for legalizing cannabis can no longer say no one has died from using marijuana. And you better believe that when the fear rises, nuances of methodology will be lost to the clamor of keeping our kids safe.
Another byproduct of this fear will be focusing on the immediate threat instead of trying to understand the big picture, which includes Mexican drug kingpins escaping from prison, the absurd slap on the wrist HSBC got for laundering drug profits, and that odd correlation between America invading Afghanistan and the resurgence of cheap, plentiful heroin flooding the global market.
I didn’t expect Officer Galloway to go there in his presentation, so I left because I was afraid I would.