Tonight on 360°, a new government report shows that marijuana is packing a bigger punch. But is the increased potency a good or bad thing? It depends on who you ask. We'll have both sides of the debate.
Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast on the pot report and tonight's other headlines during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST
Want to know what else we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/13/buffalo.crash/art.crash.rose.gi.pool.jpg caption="Flowers are left at a makeshift memorial near the site of a plane crash in Clarence Center, New York, in February."]
Tonight we have a 360° follow on the crash of Flight 3407 near Buffalo in February. Many of you weighed in our report two nights ago and we did some more digging on the tragedy that killed 50 people.
Investigators are raising concerns about First Officer Rebecca Shaw's annual salary of $23,900. Shaw lived with her parents in Seattle and commuted across the country to report for duty in Newark, New Jersey the night before the accident. The NTSB is looking at whether than prevented her from getting enough sleep.
Don't miss Jason Carroll's report on the crash investigation tonight on AC360°.
Also tonight, a look at why pot is getting more potent. Fans of marijuana likely are cheering that news. But is there a danger? We'll have both of the debate and let you decide.
And don't miss Anderson's face-off with Ellen. He was a guest on her talk show today. Did the Jeopardy champ live up to his latest challenge? We'll show you.
Join us for these stories and more starting at 10pm ET.
See you then!
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the new report on the potency of marijuana on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET. And go here to send us your iReport questions!
Office of National Drug Control Policy
How long can a drug be detected in one's system?
You can view information about drug detection times in the "Pros and Cons of the Various Drug Testing Methods" table found in the ONDCP resource, What You Need to Know about Drug Testing in Schools. We also suggest you contact a drug testing facility directly for information and assistance.
Where can I find data on drug-related deaths?
Statistics on drug related deaths are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual mortality report. Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) annual medical examiner report features drug-related fatalities from selected areas across the United States. In addition to providing the total number of drug-related deaths in each area, the report provides the number of instances individual drugs are involved in drug deaths.
Where can I learn more about the availability of illegal drugs in the United States?
Information on the availability of illegal drugs in the United States can be found in the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) annual report, National Drug Threat Assessment and the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) State Fact Sheets.
Where can I locate information on the price and purity of illegal drugs?
Information on the price and purity of illicit drugs can be found in ONDCP's Price and Purity of Illicit Drugs: 1981-2007 and it's Technical Report. Also see the National Drug Intelligence Center's annual National Drug Threat Assessment reports for additional price and purity data.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson after making remarks on credit card reform during a town hall meeting at Rio Rancho High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, May 14, 2009.
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Program Note: Tune in tonight for Randi Kaye’s full report on AC360° 10 p.m. ET.
Randi Kaye | Bio
If scientists at the University of Mississippi are right, marijuana smokers are in for a surprise.
A study of thousands of samples at the University found that the drug has seriously increased in potency. The key ingredient in marijuana which gives you the “high” is called THC and scientists have found that it has increased from about 4 percent potency back in the 1980s to 10.1 percent these days, and they say it will likely keep rising before it levels off at about 15 or 16 percent. Some samples have even shown THC levels of 30 percent.
This is not your mom’s and dad’s marijuana, that is for sure!
For my story on AC360 tonight, I talked to people on both sides of the marijuana debate to see how concerned they are, or aren’t, about this increased potency.
Bruce Mirken with the Marijuana Policy Project, which is working to legalize marijuana, says increased potency is a good thing. He says THC isn’t the problem, it’s the respiratory effects that are the real concern. Mirken says people will smoke less of a higher-potency drug so there will be less of an impact on a smoker’s lungs.
Editor's Note: The Office of National Drug Control Policy released a report today from the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project, which shows levels of THC in marijuana are highest since the analysis of the drug began in the late 1970s. The Potency Monitoring Project is funded by the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA). We'll be digging deeper tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET and Dr. Sanjay Gupta will answer questions about the drug.
Office of National Drug Control Policy
According to the latest data on marijuana samples analyzed to date, the average amount of THC in seized samples has reached a new high of 10.1 percent. This compares to an average of just under 4 percent reported in 1983 and represents more than a doubling in the potency of the drug since that time.
As of March 15, 2009, the University of Mississippi's marijuana Potency Monitoring Project has analyzed and compiled data on over 1,500 marijuana seizure specimens including cannabis, hashish, and hash oil samples confiscated by law enforcement agencies during 2008.
Additional key facts:
An analysis of marijuana seizures at Southwest border ports-of-entry shows increasing levels of potency, from a median potency of 4.8% in 2003, to 5.2% in 2005, to 7.3% in 2007. This indicates increasing potency in marijuana is not only seen from expected domestic sources, such as indoor cultivation, but from traditionally low potency non-U.S. sources crossing the Southwest border.
The latest Treatment Episode Data Set review of drug treatment admissions in the United States has shown that treatment admissions for marijuana as the primary substance of abuse has increased steadily from 198,000 people in 1997 to 288,000 in 2007. (SAMSHA)
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/05/12/iraq.mental.toll/art.hands.file.gi..jpg caption="U.S. soldiers join hands in prayer before a patrol in Iraq last year."]
The killing of five comrades by a U.S. soldier on Monday in Iraq is no surprise and illustrates the mental toll that the current wars take on troops, the leader of a veterans group said.
"It's tragic. I mean, It's deeply disturbing, but I don't think folks who have been in the [war] theater are surprised," said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Rieckhoff talked with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night about the killings.
The "unprecedented" number of times that soldiers are redeployed to Iraq and Afghanistan adds to the stress soldiers are feeling, Rieckhoff said.
"There's a study of one in four folks coming back [from war] with some kind of stress-related mental health injury. But these folks are going back over and over again," he said. "Each time you're deployed, you're more likely to have a mental health disability. There's not enough psychologists, psychiatrists in theater."