The Glow-Up of Mary Jane:
From the Streets to Pseudo-Big Pharma
Among the many things that remind me of how my mid-thirties have set-in is how much weed has changed in price and grade. What we once classified as either “indoor” or “outdoor” has been trumped by medicinal strains and anything less is basically dirt. With hybrids growing in popularity to treat various ailments, one can literally customize the potency of their herbal experience. Since this switch-over to what has become a more openly practiced pass-time, the standard of blazing a fat one can become an expensive recreation for those of us who still remember the good 'ole days.
With the rise of exotic strains and what Trap Hip-Hop of the mid-2000's defined as “loud”, copping a gram or few of “Mid” or “Reggie” from your go-to supplier is a nostalgic remembrance. Although the fact remains that you didn't know exactly what you were getting, I've personally enjoyed far better weed on a much smaller budget than what some may consider high-grade, these days. When this new-found standard took-off I was in college, and with mid-grade being the baseline for a mellow trip, there were so many good strains of weed flooding campuses. Back home in Philly, Hawaiian Kine Bud and Sour Diesel were the cream of the crop as far as what you could find on the regular. Then around 2006 or so, everyone became more 'Canna-bougie' and other familiar go-to's buds like hydro and Arizona just stopped flowing so freely.
As a functioning stoner and moderate connoisseur of cannabis and todays’ bi-products, I remember having a few very bad highs back then, mostly when buying from suppliers home in the city. Feeling strongly that what I got was indeed marijuana, I suspected some dealers were tampering with their supply in efforts to haphazardly increase potency and compete with new consumer demands. Later I would learn from more than one reliable source how impractical growers resorted to using pigeon manure in crop soil and spraying foreign substances on leaves to feign a pungent aroma (i.e. diluted cat urine). In the same vain, feeling light-headed to the point of dizziness, having heart palpitations and passing out are some symptoms that came from these poor practices.
Now that medicinal marijuana has significantly refined what is now the cannabis industry and many U.S. states have decriminalized marijuana offenses and sales of THC products, investors are projecting major growth over the next decade. February 27, 2018 marked the first cannabis company to hit the U.S. stock exchange with the listing of Cronos, a Toronto based producer. Currently estimated at $61 billion, the global cannabis market is projected to reach $100 billion by 2032, and the latter figure increases every year according to top U.S. industry analyst Cowen & Co.
Yet and still, legitimate medicinal growers remain under scrutiny for methods of THC extraction, such as using butane and other flammables for bi-products like edibles. Researchers also report finding questionable amounts of heavy metals and pesticides in today's commercial marijuana products, which are 30% stronger than weed of the 1980s or early 2000's. With companies like 22nd Century Group employing genetic innovations to customize the levels of psychedelic effects a crop can yield, product potency can also be projected to increase as well. Some may even equivocate such methods to those related to GMO engineering which raises more concerns and means for regulation.
Under a critical scope, as legitimate and legal as big 'Cannabusiness' has grown to be, many in the industry fight through strenuous regulations, banking limitations, and bias distribution ethics. Along with this comes the discussion of minority owners who report having less access to procure business licenses, loans, and clearances in order to operate in accordance with regulations. These discrepancies remain to be rolled into a nicely packed joint venture, but with all the fresh green going around comes a need to balance the rolling tray of inclusion and sustainability.
Good ole' Mary Jane is deemed the drug of choice over long-time legal substances such as nicotine and alcohol, so consumers are sure to find something to puff on whether that means patronizing legal dispensaries or a trusted supplier. The fact is, no matter where you score your buds or how you light 'em, some things will always be left up in smoke.
Check out the Motley Fool for the latest marijuana industry projections and tips on investing for beginners and connoisseurs.