Sad Tidings for Vapers ... and Other 4/20 News

LOS ANGELES—What with marijuana about to become street legal in January of 2018, and with hundreds of thousands (millions?) currently legally using it for medicinal purposes, it's a pretty good bet that no one will be happy to hear the report from NBC4 News that of 44 different samples of marijuana that its investigative team purchased from dispensaries around the city, 41 of them were found to be tainted with pesticides at levels that would exceed already established safety limits. (The stores from which the contaminated samples were taken were notified and those products pulled from sale.)

The products, most of which could be used for either smoking or vaping, were sent to a Berkeley, Calif., lab for testing for 16 pesticides, and among the chemicals detected were Abamectin, Bifenazate, Bifenthrin, Myclobutanil, Paclobutrazol, Pyrethrins-1 and -2, Spiromesifen and Trifloxystrobin, all powerful poisons which should not be ingested or inhaled in the quantities found in some tested samples.

Lori Ajax, director of California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, the agency responsible for regulating the state's medical cannabis industry, told NBC4 that the agency is currently working on regulations that would include safety standards for pesticides and other contaminants that could be found in marijuana. Such standards already exist in several of the states where marijuana use is legal, including Oregon, Colorado and Nevada, while Massachusetts bans the use of pesticides in pot growing outright.

“I think the goal of California is to make sure the public and patients have safe cannabis and so I think it is important that we test the product and that we’re testing for pesticides,” she said. "My main concern is to make sure the public and our patients have safe cannabis, so that's always going to be our main concern."

On a lighter note, there's Infowars' Alex Jones. (Bet you never thought you'd see those words together in a sentence...)

Yes, seems that the Blustery One, who's famous for spouting such outrageous theories as that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a government plot and no one actually died, not to mention the feds also being behind the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing, told a jury in his divorce trial that, according to Buzzfeed's Charlie Warzel, "George Soros is somehow behind a plot to make the effects of smoking marijuana stronger than ever before."

And how does he know?

"During his testimony, Jones claimed that he smoked marijuana once a year to 'monitor its strength,'" reported, "and he claimed that it's gotten progressively stronger over the years—and he thinks that George Soros is somehow involved." Just don't ask him how; he might tell you ... at great length.

Raw Story also recently ran an article by The Influence's Johann Hari tracing the history of marijuana's criminalization in the U.S., and although it leaves out details from the earliest years of the 20th century, when communities in the Southwest passed anti-pot laws aimed mainly at the Mexican immigrants who were thought to be its most prolific users, Hari does a pretty good recounting of the career of one Harry J. Anslinger, America's first "drug czar," who was originally hired by the feds in 1929 to oversee the constitution prohibition against drinking alcohol—a ban that was repealed in 1931 because pretty much no one who wanted a drink had any trouble getting one. (Pre-code Hollywood movies of the era are a hoot because many of them feature rich folks with private stashes of booze throwing lavish parties where everyone gets smashed.)

Anyway, with anti-Prohibition views gaining more and more favor in society, and the repeal legislation (aka the 21st Amendment) moving rapidly through state legislatures, Anslinger turned his attention to marijuana, claiming that smokers would fall into "a delirious rage," would have dreams of an "erotic character" and would "lose the power of connected thought" before becoming insane.

Anslinger even attempted to enlist the expertise of 30 scientists to bolster his anti-pot campaign, asking them if marijuana was dangerous, and if there should be a ban? Twenty-nine wrote back and said "No"—so Anslinger promoted the hell out of the one that said "Yes."

Anyway, you can read all about it here.

Now go have some 4/20 fun.