Predictions that make you go ‘huh’? (updated)

Some… interesting… predictions in this piece: Pot law: Hazy days ahead for state

From Jonathan Caulkins:

Caulkins expects impaired driving to become a bigger issue, particularly after initial 2013 reports from the Washington State Patrol showed a 50 percent increase in the number of drivers testing positive for pot.

This is either imprecise speech or lazy reporting. What does “become a bigger issue” mean? It could mean that he thinks it’ll come up in political cannabis-related discussions more often (with which I agree), or it could mean that he thinks there will be more impaired driving (with which I would disagree). So I can’t really evaluate the prediction. And the second half of the sentence is meaningless and distracting. Any comment, Jon?

Note: Jon has other predictions regarding vaporizing with which I agree.

From Kevin Sabet:

Legalization critic Kevin Sabet of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) predicts little reduction in black-market violence, more negative incidents involving youth and pot, and an increase in DUI cases. Sabet said voters will start to realize legalization “may not be what they bargained for.”

He also sees the emergence of a Big Marijuana industry that finds a way around state restrictions on public use and promotion.

That’s not a prediction. It’s a wish list. Sorry, Kev. And I’d invite you to respond, but you’ve made it clear that you won’t talk to me.

Mark Kleiman:

Concentrated forms of marijuana, such as butane hash oil, will come to dominate the market over herbal buds and flowers, Kleiman predicted.

This one baffles me.

Conventional wisdom is that prohibition always results in more concentrated forms, where legal regimes tend to allow the emergence and popularity of more bulky, lower potency forms. With alcohol prohibition, for example, whiskey was the preferred drink and beer and wine were pretty much non-existent. The same is true with pretty much any drug.

I’m curious as to why higher concentration would be more desired in a legal regime, particularly when the majority of new use is likely to be casual users who probably won’t want too-high potency. If anything, the return of casual-use baby boomers, who quit cannabis because of its legal status, will result in increased demand for moderate potency product.

Now I don’t know much about butane hash oil, so maybe there’s some reason why it would become more popular than plant cannabis, but I’m not seeing it off-hand.

Unless the reason is that they set the purchasing limits so ridiculously low that people will need to purchase more concentrated products in order to have a reasonable consumable quantity?


If nothing else, this article gives us some fun things to check out and come back to in the next year or two.

Update: Mark responds via Twitter:

That seems to be the trend in CA and WA. No harsh smoke, no smell, greater efficiency, greater user control of dosage.

Interesting. I’m curious to see if that plays out. I can see the potential if it actually means greater user control of dosage. But I really wonder if it discounts the existence of the “beer consumption style” of cannabis smoking where people actually enjoy the social process of consumption and not just getting to your preferred high more quickly and easily.

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