Marijuana has been a subject of controversy for over a century. The government outlawed it in 1937. This followed a years-long racist smear campaign conducted by Harry Anslinger, the first leader of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
Marijuana use has been in flux in the past century, with the height of use occurring in the late 1970s. Almost 13% of people over 12 reported marijuana use within the past month in 1979. Today, that number is roughly 8%.
The number of users isn’t the only thing that’s changed since the 70s. Marijuana today is more potent than it was back in the 1960s and 70s. There are a few reasons for this, and we’ll talk more about them in this article.
A Question of Legality?
Marijuana today is six or even eight times more powerful than in the 1970s. While there isn’t one factor that seems to have caused the rise in potency, legality may have something to do with it.
Marijuana was illegal in the 1970s and is still illegal in most states today. The difference is that the political perception of marijuana was more lenient.
For the first half of the 1970s, states were lessening penalties for possession. Some even considered decriminalizing cannabis.
A pushback from parents in 1976 caused the government to reinstate minimum sentences. They’d only get tougher in the next few decades.
Most gamblers and investors will tell you that risk and reward go hand in hand. The more you stand to lose, the larger the prize has to be to justify taking the chance. For marijuana, this led to higher potency as a response to larger legal penalties.
Know-How and Innovation
The 1980s was a weird time for marijuana. On the one hand, you had the government increasing penalties for drug possession. Meanwhile, those growing and selling cannabis were finding new things to do with their product to increase its value.
Hydroponics was one of the major innovations of the 1980s. Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants in a liquid mixture of water and nutrients. This allowed plants to be grown without the soil that marijuana thrives in.
Before then, cannabis had to be imported to the US. During this process, some of the plant’s THC naturally dissipated. Hydroponics allowed the plant to go from terrarium to consumer in a few hours at most, cutting back on THC loss.
Hybridization is the other breakthrough of the 1980s. The idea of hybridization wasn’t new, but it had never been applied to cannabis. It allowed growers to cultivate new types of marijuana with higher THC yields.
Both of these practices are used to grow marijuana today, and you can find many strains of locally-grown cannabis in any legal cannabis farm.
You may have heard that marijuana today is more powerful than it was in the swinging 60s, and it mostly has to do with legal realities and new growing techniques that have evolved. Attitudes have changed and business has become more streamlined.
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