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Lies and propaganda designed to get full marijuana legalization

These claims aren’t based on fact, but they’re propaganda points commonly used to get public support for legalization.

  • Marijuana needs to be rescheduled in order to explore its medical properties. (The National Academy of Medicine Report of 2017 considered at 10,000 scientific abstracts to reach 100 conclusions.  There’s no shortage of research studies on marijuana.)
  • Marijuana is safer than alcohol. (The risks of marijuana use are somewhat different from those of alcohol. Seth Leibsohn’s article, When a Lie Travels, demonstrates why it’s inappropriate to compare these two substances.  Both are dangerous, but marijuana is far more toxic to the brain than alcohol. Keeping marijuana illegal keeps usage down which is a form of “harm reduction.”)

Strangely, pot advocates often talk about the dangers of alcohol as a reason to legalize marijuana.

  • Millions of people are in jail for possessing small amounts of marijuana. (The number of people in federal and state prisons for minor marijuana infractions is less than 1%. There is truth to the claim that blacks and Hispanics are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system. True before and after legalization, this issue cannot be resolved by legalization and it isn’t limited to drug policy.)

Not good substitute for opioids

  • Legalizing marijuana frees police to concentrate on more serious crimes. (FBI data from the first four states to legalize, Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon, shows that crime increases significantly after legalization. Those four states had about 450 murders and 30,300 aggravated assaults in 2013. In 2018, they had almost 620 murders and 38,000 aggravated assaults—an increase of 37 percent for murders and 25 percent for aggravated assaults, far greater than the national increase.
  • Regulation works. (Despite the fact that states have costly regulatory bodies, much dispensary marijuana is tainted with mold, fungus and pesticides.  Some of the vaping illnesses and deaths can be traced to legal, regulated marijuana stores. In other words, it’s not only bootleg marijuana vapes that are causing deaths.)

Not a tax windfall

  • Legalized marijuana brings billions of tax dollars into the states that have legalized. (In all the states that have legalized, marijuana tax money represents less than 1% of state revenue.  We don’t have detailed analysis of the social costs: crashes, traffic deaths, butane hash oil explosions, mental health and emergency room costs related to cannabis.)  States that have legalized faced a huge increase in homelessness.
  • People do not drive better under the influence of marijuana, as pot advocates claim. (Traffic deaths rose in the first states to legalize marijuana. Although data is preliminary, insurance company statistics suggest this outcome, too.  Mixing marijuana and alcohol, and multi-drug impairment is a rising problem that coincides with marijuana legalization. Drugged driving surpassed drunk driving as a cause of traffic deaths a few years ago. Marijuana is the number one drug associated with drugged driving.)
  • Marijuana isn’t addictive. (Roughly 30% of regular marijuana users in the US are classified as having a cannabis use disorder, versus 10-20% of alcohol users.  A study from UC Davis found that adults dependent on cannabis had more financial and social problems than those dependent on alcohol. Addiction studies show that 9% of adult users and 17% of those who begin pot use as adolescents become addicted. These statistics come from the last century and don’t account for today’s high potency cannabis.)

The most devious lie

  • Marijuana never killed anyone.  The most pernicious lie is that marijuana never killed anyone, which advocates repeat because marijuana doesn’t cause overdose deaths by crossing the blood-brain barrier.  (In addition to those killed by marijuana-impaired drivers, we have a long list of those whose marijuana use caused mental illness and led to other drugs or suicide.  Young people have also died from cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, heart arrhythmia and from vaping marijuana. Not to mention when people do foolish and stupid things when under the influence, causing accidental death.)

When asked in polls, about 65% of the people claim to favor legalization, but these polls don’t ask about decriminalization.   When polls ask about decriminalization, the answers change.

The Drug Policy Alliance, an organization at the forefront of drug policy reform, pushes for the legalization of all drugs.

Marijuana DUI crashes in Illinois rise

Many recent crashes in Illinois suggest that pot users think it’s safe to drive after toking, or they simply don’t care.  Prior to the decriminalization of marijuana, Illinois experienced less than 1000 vehicle deaths each year.  In 2016, the year of marijuana decriminalization, traffic deaths rose to 1078. In 2017, 1091 people died from fatal crashes on Illinois roads, and 1038 died in 2018. 

With decriminalization, Illinois raised the marijuana limit from zero THC  to 5 ng of THC.   When politicians talk of decriminalization or legalization, they signal to the public a belief that pot is harmless.

On May 31, the day legislators passed a legalization bill, Erik McKay drove recklessly and killed a passenger, Continue reading Marijuana DUI crashes in Illinois rise

Rip the Pot Van Winkle wakes up

When I was 17 my BFF Lisa was in a single car accident.  She was prone to smoking bong hits and driving with her knees.  She was in a coma for a year and died.  I first smoked pot with her and her mom. Lisa was her only child. 

I blamed a faulty car for her death, not pot.

In my 30s, I partied with a young 20s co-worker from UMass.  She had smoked strong pot, AK-47 for years.  I stopped hanging out once she became paranoid, delusional and agoraphobic.  She later was in a mental hospital for schizophrenia and has been on disability ever since. 

I blamed her genes for her debilitating mental illness, not pot.

The rose colored glasses of denial.

I dated a patient,  also named Lisa, at the dispensary who had extreme psychotic episodes whenever she smoked high potency Sativa.  She would almost collapse, regress into a two-year-old state of mind, scream at the top of her lungs and then go into loud, joyous religious rapture singing.  

The scariest experience was when in psychosis she uttered in a guttural deep voice so unlike her’s, “Choke her!”  It was an alarming Sybil Stephen King moment that sent chills down my spine. I didn’t know if her split personality was talking about choking herself or me. 

Needless to say, it was very hard being with her, we were not a good match whatsoever and broke up.  I later learned that she committed suicide at 52. 

I blamed her diagnosis of bipolar for her suicide, not pot.

Rip the Pot Van Winkle

Bong rips: “A noun that refers to the action of smoking from a bong. So named for the sound that air makes when it bubbles through the bong water.”

One time in college my friends had too much water in a bong – really dirty, unchanged, high potency bong water.  The too high water level caused me to unintentionally swallow a huge mouthful of bong water when I released the carburetor.   
 
I immediately started to hallucinate, almost passed out.   Was lucky to stay conscious long enough to make it to the bathroom and vomit profusely.  Took a heck of a long time for my mind to clear and body to recover.  But I saw no problem with continuing to use pot.

For years I discounted all of those signposts showing that marijuana is dangerous  because I was so enmeshed in my pot denial.

When, finally, I experienced such terrible physical and mental effects myself, this Rip the Pot Van Winkle woke up out of a pot slumber.  The truth could no longer be denied. Horrible psychosis woke me up.  I am SO lucky I survived.

I had the epiphany that pot caused my BFF’s death via DUI; pot caused my friend to become schizophrenic, and pot caused psychosis and suicide with my ex-girlfriend.  Pot caused me to think violent thoughts like shooting people, and brought me to the brink of suicide.

Pot almost took me out.  I couldn’t perceive the damage because I was high on pot.  

By Anne Hassel,  a new friend of Parents Opposed to Pot.

 

Marijuana killed my son David in only a couple of years

Our son’s story is a warning to other parents

Our son was happy and healthy before he started using marijuana at age 14.  A friend introduced him to marijuana during a time when our family was supporting my wife in her fight against breast cancer.  We noticed David changing rapidly, but attributed the change to   puberty. 

After being kicked out of the private school he had attended for many years, he became a heavy user and seemed to lose motivation for school and for life. He graduated from high school at the bottom of his class and started work as a plumber’s assistant. With his paychecks, he would buy more weed.

As his use became even heavier, he became increasingly removed from our family. He spoke of seeing aliens. By last Thanksgiving he appeared catatonic. The next day he stabbed his right palm with his pocket knife. He was hospitalized in a local mental health facility and diagnosed with depression and psychosis, and only tested positive for marijuana. 

After a 6-day inpatient stay, David was discharged with no discharge planning. Notes from the facility reveal that David filled out a questionnaire on the day of discharge expressing that he “often” felt panic or terror and that he had made plans to end his life. This was not made known to the family, and he was discharged anyway.  

After discharge he started an outpatient program. On the fourth day he smoked cannabis in the woods behind our house. Then he came inside, got a gun from the safe and shot himself.

Marijuana kills! It killed my son. We will never escape David’s loss, but we hope that by telling his story we can help other parents and children understand that marijuana is far from harmless.   (We published a testimony by David’s sibling who described the effects of his death on the family.)

We have other articles that explain how the mental health system often fails in treatments for marijuana addiction, part 1.  Mental health care fails at addiction treatment, part 2