Legal pot sales are expected to hit $1 billion this year, and the market is expected to double by 2019, according to a new report.
As marijuana sales are poised to explode, so too are the risks associated with legal weed.
A recent study by the Brookings Institution says pot use among Americans has risen steadily since 1999.
The risk of addiction, legal troubles and violence are rising.
The Brookings report predicts the number of people arrested for marijuana possession could jump from about 6,000 to about 25,000.
“The rise of marijuana and its use in the U.S. has become an increasingly urgent public health concern, and a major public health priority in many jurisdictions,” Brookings said in its report.
“In addition to the significant societal costs associated with marijuana use, these trends raise significant legal and policy issues.
They are likely to increase the demand for marijuana in the coming years and threaten to exacerbate existing disparities in drug enforcement, criminal justice and incarceration rates.”
To help you prepare for your next pot purchase, here’s what you need to know about the industry.
The biggest concern with pot is it could be contaminated, a problem that has been addressed by a handful of states and municipalities.
But there is no official testing, and that’s where the research gets murky.
The latest FDA report said that only four out of 20 products tested by the agency were “possible for contamination” because of the way they were made.
“There’s no way of knowing if the product is going to be safe,” said Jennifer Sallenger, a cannabis analyst at Cannabist, a Denver-based marijuana company.
“If you have a product that’s made in a lab and tested positive for marijuana, you can’t make that product safe,” she added.
“The FDA has not been able to prove the product isn’t tainted.
There’s no good way to say how safe a product is.
It’s really a black box.”
To determine if a product isn´t a safe product, the FDA has a “quality assurance” process that takes into account all the testing and product chemistry.
This includes lab tests, and more sophisticated testing that uses infrared, ultraviolet and other sensors.
But there are concerns that this testing could miss important warnings.
“What happens when a product tests positive for THC?
The FDA can’t tell us because they can’t test for other substances in the product that may be harmful,” Sallengers said.”
That is not to say that THC isn’t toxic.
But the FDA is not going to look at it because there is not a lot of testing to make sure.”
Sallenger said that the FDA and the federal government don’t need to worry about the risks.
But if you are buying marijuana and it comes from a supplier who has tested positive, then you should be aware.