By Marisa DeZara
It seems as though every single day a new story regarding the now infamous Ferguson case is being discussed. As of recently, traditional news media outlets, like ABC, CNN, New York Times, and many others, have been primarily focusing on the implications of racially-based police brutality.
In short, in Ferguson, Missouri, a black teenager named Michael Brown was shot multiple times and killed by white police officer, Darren Wilson. Although this case is already littered with controversy, especially in relation to inconsistent witness testimony and the fact that officer Wilson was not indicted, even more controversy has arisen and it has to do with marijuana.
So, what does the Ferguson case have to do with marijuana? According to High Times, prosecutors blamed dabs for the circumstances leading up to Michael Brown’s death. Dabs, a highly concentrated form of THC, are considered a highly potent alternative to regular methods of consuming marijuana, such as in the form of plant material.
St. Louis Country District Attorney Bob McColloch’s prosecutors assert that dabs may have “lead Michael Brown into a drug-fueled rage that made him attack Officer Darren Wilson.” The toxicology report indicates that “Michael Brown had 12 nanograms of active THC in his blood at the time of his killing.” This amount of THC is equivalent to about one joint. And a person of Michael Brown’s stature, 6 feet and 5 inches tall and weighing nearly 300 pounds, would have been minutely effected by 12 nanograms of THC.
According to the St. Louis County chief toxicologist, “in a small person, say like 100 pounds, to get to 12 nanograms wouldn’t take a lot.” He continues, “a single joint could easily do that. But when you talk about a larger body mass, just like drinking alcohol, larger persons can drink more alcohol because they have the receptacle to hold it.”
Unlike alcohol, it is very difficult to determine concrete levels of marijuana toxicity in human blood. High Times states that marijuana metabolizes at different rates for different people at different times under different circumstances. This rhetoric is all too familiar, as we have seen with the implementation of cannabis DUI laws. Finding a specific toxicity level for THC that applies to everyone is difficult, perhaps even impossible, to achieve.
Minutes before Officer Wilson arrived at the scene, Michael Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, were having a conversation about Jesus and anger management. They passed two workers on the street, one of whom noticed that Brown had a small amount of cannabis, and said to Brown, “you ought to try this wax stuff,” referring to dabs.
Even though evidence suggests otherwise, McColloch’s prosecutor assumed that Brown purchased wax off of the worker. The prosecutor persistently asked a string of questions about the toxicity of dabs and eventually asserted that “Brown’s marijuana use turned him into a drug-fueled beast.”
If there is anything to be learned about this aspect of the Ferguson case, then it is that the general public is simply misinformed about the toxicity of marijuana; it cannot be compared to alcohol because toxicity levels are determined differently. Raising truthful awareness about issues surrounding marijuana concentrates is masked by highly negative perceptions in the media. Thus, people adopt misinformed views.
It is indisputable that dabbing is a potent, and much more toxic, form of consuming marijuana, but what is not indisputable is that dabbing causes anger, violence and rage.