Posts by BenWilson

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  • Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why…, in reply to Stamper Stamp,

    Sort of says it all, doesn’t it.

    No, it says very little, and is a very incomplete statement. I can, for instance, say with extremely high level of likelihood that the average temperature of the earth's surface will be between zero and 100 degrees celcius for the next million years. Chaotic systems can have unpredictable behaviour as they rove between their attractors, but you can certainly say that when you change underlying drivers of the systems, the overall averages change. The underlying nature of a system can change a lot without noticeable surface temperature change. For instance, a glass of water with ice in it will be, on average, about zero degrees celcius for the entire time it takes the ice to melt. But it's bogus to say that nothing changed in the glass and that on the evidence, it will always be zero degrees celcius. When the ice melts, the glass will rapidly rise to room temperature. And the room temperature will have a big effect on how fast the ice melts. Only by weighing the ice could you actually be sure of the heat energy state of the glass of water.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Beyond 'a bad look', in reply to Tom Semmens,

    And then realise that means that when or if the left returns to power it wil have carte-blanche to return the favour, in spades.

    I find it hard to get excited by the idea of that. Apart from being wishful thinking that might not eventuate, it's not that good of a thing to wish for, that the long run is that we'll get a lengthy period of left-dominated bullshit as some kind of revenge.

    I'd rather that public opinion was simply less swayed by the MSM in the long run, since it is a very, very weak and unreliable source. I think this is happening, too. But it's a long process. I definitely don't contribute by ever telling people they should use the MSM to get their opinions, any more than I'd tell them to eat shitty junk food to nourish their bodies. A little junk food is OK in a balanced diet, so long as you exercise it off with a bit of mental effort doing research, and get most of your nutrition from primary sources and proper robust debate of them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why…, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    My money is on the last option. Bait and switch, uses way less energy than trolling and the bycatch is seen as a bonus.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Synthetic cannabis: it just…, in reply to Alfie,

    But no matter how our laws change, I doubt we’ll see vast fields of green again.

    Agreed. For starters, I don't think there's really that much demand locally. Every hectare could equal the supply of a thousand hydro growers. A small farm could probably supply the entire country. But it's not an incremental step that folks could accept yet, to have industrial level supply. And if the space has to be "locked", that probably still means indoor plants under lights. But three plants is heaps for personal use, makes me wonder why they bother to regulate the supply. I guess that they're taking it a step at a time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Synthetic cannabis: it just…, in reply to Alfie,

    Anyone lucky enough to visit Amsterdam or Colorado is able to appreciate quality weed – not because it’s stronger, but because of subtle differences in the effects.

    Sure. I've done that myself. But it's still roughly the same price there as it is here. So we're not making the comparison I was even talking about.

    Of course it will. In the way that a barrel of cheap plonk is guaranteed to keep you pissed for weeks. But is that really what most smokers want?

    Price is definitely something people are highly sensitive to, yes. If we must use the cheap plonk analogy, then the current situation is that everyone has to pay over $100 per bottle, and they have to go without quite a lot too. I know people who do that anyway, but I know one hell of a lot more people who pay more in the range of $10 to $20. But wine isn't a raw ingredient anyway. It's a very different product, highly refined. Also, incidentally, almost all grapes are grown out of doors. You could probably hydro a superior quality grape, if you want it to cost 20 times as much. So why don't the French do that?

    Also, smoking isn't the only way people take cannabis anyway. When it comes to eating it, I doubt the taste is anything other than something to disguise. And when it's vaporized, apparently it all tastes the same, like smelling freshly cut grass. And this is all just considering the use of the plant as a raw consumer material. With processing it transforms into totally different things.

    Furthermore, there is absolutely no connection between the quality of the weed in a hydro or outdoor setup except in the one dimension you keep trying to make out isn't a factor - the high THC per plant. As far as a "pleasant smoke" goes, many prefer outdoor. They often like that the other cannabinoids are more present. But they currently can't get it because it is very hard to grow large quantities out of doors due to police, vigilantes and (probably more problematic, but there's no good public information) thieves.

    But enough hammering the point. All I'm saying is that growing using the sun and rain and earth like how it evolved would probably dominate the production just on cost, very, very quickly, as it does in practically every other plant material used by humans.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Synthetic cannabis: it just…, in reply to Alfie,

    I don’t accept BenWilson’s suggestion that dope smokers would be happy with truckloads of of grade B cannabis. It simply doesn’t work that way. There’s a market for good wine – and there’s a market for good cannabis. Synthetics by comparison are the cheapest, nastiest cask wine you could imagine. Their effect is heavier and much less pleasant.

    I don't know how you could be sure that it doesn't work that way until it's tried. I was talking about circumstances so different to now that it's not really possible to do statistics on it. Currently people buy cannabis by weight and it's expensive. Something like $10 per gram. The penalties for carrying 30 grams of weak stuff are the same as for 30 grams of strong stuff, and there's no easy metric for people to haggle over the price per strength, so usually the price is the same and a basic minimum standard of very high strength became normal.

    But if there are no penalties, and you're looking at, say, $30 a kilo for the supplier to profit on it, no one is going to really worry about the price or the strength, within a wide acceptable range. A kilo of weak cannabis is still going to get you high for months to years. People wouldn't even buy it in that kind of bulk. If getting it is easy, it would be more like cigarettes - you'd carry a small pack that lasts between a day and a week depending on your usage, rather than buying by the ounce. Product differentiation would be around different things like how nicely packaged it is, how it tastes, whether you prefer a filter or not, whether it's more high or more stoned, whether it's sold in a form more convenient to vaporize than smoke...and so on.

    I don't think all the genetically engineered and selectively bred hydro strains would disappear. But I feel pretty sure that it would no longer be the dominant method, any more than hydroponics forms a big part of the supply chain of most consumables. They're just way too damned inefficient (cost-wise - clearly they're very energy efficient - but that is NOT why people do it that way), and really only justified in out of season perishable foods like tomatoes. And I don't think people buy hydro because of it's amazingly superior taste, like they would with a fine wine. They buy it because, for starters, it's what there is - it's very hard to get anything else because outdoor crops are really hard to grow because it's not legal. And secondly because price really is an issue when it's that expensive. It ends up trumping most other considerations.

    Synthetics are something else again, though. I'm not sure that it's like nasty cask wine. They're an actually different chemical, whereas cask wine is still alcohol. It's just not fine wine. The effects of getting drunk on cask wine or whiskey are very, very similar to the point that the law treats them entirely equally on the alcohol content in your bloodstream. OK you'll possibly get a different hangover, but it's not in the same league as consuming a synthetic that might have an entirely different effect. Possibly multiple effects.

    I’ve also seen users quoted saying that natural cannabis doesn’t do it for them any more.

    Yeah, I would not be surprised. We're talking about stuff that goes to town on most of the same receptors, but with entirely different levels, speeds, etc. And it's not just cannabinomimetics, either. There's all sorts of different effects being bundled together.

    But that said, legality has it's own appeals, hence most of the synthetic problem in the first place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Synthetic cannabis: it just…,

    Ironically I think we would probably see a lot less of the super powerful strains that have been bred. Their very existence is a function of the illegality of the substance. You get more $ per gram for stronger stuff. But if the quantity in your possession carries no consequences then there's no real loss in having some half strength outdoor stuff that is a hardy survivor, and grows nicely in hectare sized lots rather than being crammed into a tiny room under an expensive light bulb and individually tended on a daily basis. Only hobbyists would do that any more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Synthetic cannabis: it just…,

    If it's commercially grown it would probably be profitable to sell it at about the same cost per weight as something like chili. So at between a thousandth and a ten thousandth of the current cost, depending on quality, freshness etc. The basic substance would cease being valuable, and value added would be entirely in the preparation. That's in the case of complete legalisation. Every control added adds more to the cost. I'd expect sin taxes and all sorts of restrictions in practice, bringing it into line with the cost of booze. It can never be quite be that expensive though because it isn't even now under conditions of total illegality.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Synthetic cannabis: it just…,

    We are talking about a plant that gets to 2m tall after all. The yield he was talking about was only the flower buds. The leafy mass is also pretty substantial.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Synthetic cannabis: it just…,

    There wouldn’t need to be any off season drought period even if it were grown entirely out of doors. The stuff can be stored for very long periods, if the smallest effort is made to dry it out and store it properly.

    Furthermore a single plant per annum is enough to supply moderate users. A grower I knew said he got about 500g per plant. That’s over 17 ounces. Even he didn’t smoke that much, and he loved his bud, and had no shortages ever.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

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