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Should States Limit the Potency of Legal Marijuana?

When states legalize marijuana, they enact a ton of legislation related to the industry. But one thing that's rarely regulated is the actual cannabis itself. But should that change?

Keith Humphreys, a Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in which he argued that states with legalized marijuana should regulate the potency of cannabis. He cited a study from the Netherlands where as potency of marijuana increases, the number of people who seek treatment for marijuana use disorder increases as well. 

Humphreys noted that in other industries, higher potency is treated differently. For instance, for an alcohol to be sold as a "beer," it has to fall into a certain range of alcohol content, and that higher content beverages are usually taxed more than lower ones. He says legal states should either cap THC content in marijuana or tax strains with higher THC more than lower ones.

We've noted before that several studies have found that marijuana is becoming more potent over time. And very often people are looking for the highest potency cannabis available. But obviously stronger potency marijuana comes with stronger effects, an can also lead to a buildup in tolerance, where a person will need more and more cannabis to get high over time. 

While Humphreys brings up a good point, ultimately it doesn't seem like that large of an issue. Legal states have not been complaining about a dramatic increase in people seeking treatment for marijuana use disorder. So while it's definitely something to keep an eye on, it's probably not a pressing concern for the industry or states.

(h/t Washington Post)


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