When I follow the news feeds on “marijuana” I have to pass by so many stories of busts and plant eradications because, frankly, they aren’t news. They’re daily occurrences - sad, to be sure – but usually not noteworthy.
Then I catch a headline like this one from The Gothamist:
So how much was yesterday’s huge pot bust worth on the street? According to the DEA the haul of 3 tons of dope from 6,000-7,000 plants (earlier reports of 8,000 were apparently a little, uh, high) is worth about $10 million. Which makes it the largest bust of an indoor marijuana-growing operation in New York State history.
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s office discovered the grow houses after approaching an SUV that reeked of reefer on Tuesday. ”These guys stank; it was coming out of their pores,” one investigator said before hammering the point home. “They stunk out loud. They were very pungent.”
[O]nce the plants were discovered “DEA agents, NYPD cops and members of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s office wore protective gear to avoid getting contact highs from the veritable forest” according to the Post.
The notion of the “contact high” is a myth.In order to get “high”, the amount of active THC in your bloodstream has to spike. That THC passes the blood-brain barrier and you experience a euphoria.
Normally, “contact high” is expressed in the context of someone “hot-boxing” a room and a non-smoker inhales enough second-hand cannabis smoke to experience a “high”. This is not possible as the people who ware exhaling that smoke have already absorbed the THC from it within three seconds of inhaling. There is no way to get such a “contact high” unless copious amounts of cannabis are left to burn openly within a small room and people smoking it are so inexperienced they inhale and exhale almost immediately. (Emergent Fool makes a case for a placebo effect leading to this “contact high”.)
Another context would be the open burning of cannabis, like police burning a pile of pot they seized, Again, they’d have to have a lot of it and be standing close to the smoke for any THC to reach their lungs. But this isn’t what these cops were wearing protective gear for; they were just removing live plants from the grow houses. We’re supposed to believe the buds are exhaling THC right in those cops’ faces and getting them high.
The “pungent stank” you’re experiencing comes from the flavinoids and turpenoids of the cannabis plant. Those don’t get you high. THC is contained in the resiny trichomes of the buds. Wear a pair of gloves. The only reason you put on the full hazmat meth lab protective gear was to propagandize the danger of grow houses to the media.
I tracked down the story from the New York Post for some more info:
DEA agents, NYPD cops and members of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s office wore protective gear to avoid getting contact highs from the veritable forest of 6,300 pot plants with a street value of $20 million taken from the homes.
The plants would account for the equivalent of 3 million joints, according to DEA spokeswoman Erin McKenzie-Mulvey.
OK, my calculator tells me that means a pot plant is worth $3,175 in New York. I wonder how many of the 6,300 plants are seedlings? And now we know that a pot plant will produce over 475 joints apiece, which means joints must be going for about $6.75 apiece.
It cracks me up whenever the DEA tells us the value of a pot plant as if it would be brought to harvest and sold on the street as joints. We always get these incredibly inflated numbers to scare the public. But when a patient is suing the local sheriff to get his lawful medical plants returned, suddenly those plants aren’t worth $3,175 apiece anymore.