Weed? Dangerous? Surely not. Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s everyone was in a stony haze. Every free spirit was smoking as it was just the hippie thing to do. But the weed now a-days isn’t the same natural supplement your gramma was smoking back then. In fact, it is believed that todays weed is almost 60% stronger and has taken a dark turn, here in Germany and all over the world.
Vice released a 15-minute documentary January 2021 where they were contacted by a top drug dealer, referred to as Banks, to tell his side of the story. Earning thousands a day, this guy was no joke but he also had an important message to share about the dangers cannabis smokers now face. Hitting us with the hard facts that almost all weed sold in Germany is laced with addictive synthetic cannabinoids and the effects that has on your body and mind. He stats in the film, the weed is in fact “90% cut with these synthetic cannabinoids… and has very low THC and CBD”. These cannabinoids called JWH or AB-CHMINACA are sprayed onto the weed to give you an artificial high whilst making it very addictive. If you’re thinking this just means that it is a little bit stronger and no problem, I can handle it, it doesn’t take into to consideration the dangers and risks these chemicals now have. You most likely will never even know exactly what you are taking and the side effects could include injury, psychosis, or death. During an exchange with another dealer, VICE asks him about the addictiveness of the cannabinoids on the weed and he says people are getting addicted to it the same way they are to coke or speed. However good for the business, the safety of the product they are now selling has been compromised.
Weed, what many would normally think to be a relatively harmless drug has had its problems before. Back in 2018 many places around Canada and the USA were issuing warnings for laced weed after far too many accidental overdoses were occurring in youth. One harmless joint was sending children to the hospital or worse, even killing them. This problem in North America was different than Germany in that the weed was being laced with Fentanyl. Like these cannabinoids on the weed in Germany, Fentanyl is a cheaper way to produce and sell more marijuana, however even more dangerous.
As the vice documentary details, the police to drug dealer ratio is about 5 to 100. If one dealer gets caught, there are hundreds more ready to sell and even more customers available to buy. The problem cannot be stopped and often now in Germany, weed dealers are hardly the concern to police. With less police, they must prioritize the problems to focus on and that is more likely to be the dealers of heroin and harder drugs.
So, stop and ask your friends if they have noticed side effects or a strange high after smoking? After I initially watched the VICE documentary, I asked a couple mates what their thoughts were. Their reaction was unanimous. “Ohhh, that makes sense why…” Recounting tales of times one friend broke out into rash after smoking in Germany for the first time. Another describing a joint as something they never experienced before, giving them a psychosis kind of high. With many shared stories and now confirmation from a drug dealer at the top, it makes you question how far this can go. If weed is stronger than it was 30 years ago and continues on the path it is on, then it is concerning to think where we will be if nothing changes.
The most comparable point Banks made is that during prohibition when alcohol was banned, people turned to moonshine. With some stuff having such high alcohol percentage it would turn people blind. The only thing that will help is the legalization of weed to ensure the product isn’t cut with harmful supplements. Ensuring the product remains natural without all the toxins will minimize the number of overdoses by taking it off the black market. Unfortunately, that still seems to be way off for Germany. In October 2020, the recreational marijuana legalization bill was ‘firmly rejected’ as many of the government parties believe in drug reform and that the legalization would only increase the amount of people who use it. However, according to a study by the Federal Center for Health Education, “Cannabis use has increased in recent years, with 10.4% of 12 to 17-year olds and 46.4% of 18 to 25-year olds having tried it.” (DW.com). The government estimated about 4 million people in Germany use marijuana, so having it illegal and only available on the black market isn’t preventing anyone from buying it anyways. If the police can’t stop the problem, the best solution appears to be to legalize it. People aren’t going to stop smoking, so let’s ensure the stuff out there is safe! If a large German drug dealer is taking himself out of the game and turning his back on lucrative pay checks, it must be a bigger problem than we think!
Words by Gabrielle Runzer