Tag Archives: Seth Leibsohn

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 Can’t Treat the Opiate, Heroin Epidemic

Any marijuana use leads to less intelligence potential, less empathy for life, less motivation and poorer decision making.  A war on drugs is a protection and defense of our brains.   Governor Susana Martinez probably recognizes how Colorado’s marijuana problem leads to the drug epidemic and filters into New Mexico’s substance abuse issues.   Read about her veto in Part 1.

One young man who gave us a testimony explained how his marijuana use led directly to heroin addiction.

In Colorado, Dr. Libby Stuyt, addictions psychiatrist, traces a direct line from marijuana legalization to the heroin epidemic.    Colorado’s recent report on heroin has shown that the number of deaths from heroin overdose have doubled between 2011 and 2015.

In fact, Pueblo County, has suffered from heroin use and addiction more than any other Colorado county.  Pueblo, Denver and Boulder have the highest rates of youth marijuana use.   Southern Colorado is suffering the most from the heroin epidemic. Counties that have banned marijuana dispensaries have been affected the least by the heroin.

Misunderstanding of the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

Since the government has clamped down on opiate prescriptions, more users have replaced the pain drugs with heroin.  Since the legalization of marijuana, Mexican cartels have replaced much of their marijuana with heroin.  Heroin is now cheaper and addicts find it easier to get heroin than prescription pills.

Politically there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the opioid epidemic. If it was initially caused by over prescribing of medications, that’s no longer primarily the case.   Seth Leibsohn wrote an insightful article on the subject last week. The abuse of opioid prescriptions acquired legitimately constitutes a small portion of the overdose problem, he said. *

A simple crackdown on prescriptions will not solve the problem, according to Maia Szalavitz.  Although Szalavitz misunderstands the  inherent danger in using marijuana,* she explains the underlying causes of substance abuse quite well.  Impulsive children are at high risk of becoming drug users, but so are some highly cautious and anxious young people.   Two thirds of people with opioid addictions have had severely traumatic childhoods, and the more exposure to trauma, the higher the risk.  We need to help abused, neglected, fragile and otherwise traumatized children before they turn to self-medication as teens.  On the other hand, we should also provide tools and teach coping skills to children who are impulsive, ADHD or anxious.   (Overmedicating children doesn’t allow them to develop the skills needed to transition into adulthood.)

Let’s Help People Get off ALL Drugs

Effective treatment for addictions is getting off all drugs, not going to other harmful, brain-altering substances.   “The goal in helping a loved one with a substance use problem is not to reduce their use. It is to stop drug use,” according to Sven-Olov Carlsson of Drug Policy Futures.  He gave the opening address at the World Federation of Drugs Conference in Vienna last year.  As Carlsson said, the current heroin epidemic proves that “harm reduction” is not saving lives.

No one sets out to become an addict.   Fortunately, more people and states are realizing the foolishness of allowing “medical” marijuana for intractable pain.  It opens up a Pandora’s Box of problems, as in California and elsewhere.

Addiction specialists estimate that one in five American adults is addicted to drugs or alcohol.  With such large numbers, there should be no “stigma” attached to addiction or treatment.  A new or revised health care act should maintain the provision to treat addiction.

Those who are addicted have a strong need to protect a secret.  Their brains have been hijacked and there isn’t a straight path back to previous functioning.

Optimum treatment requires a period of time when the person is not using any substance of addiction in order for the brain to heal.  During that time, the person needs to be able to learn new things. The lack of treatment resources which allows this to happen is a big barrier to recovery.   Marijuana cannot be used to treat this current drug epidemic.

___________________________________________________________________________*  Another recent article explains how doctors began to take pain seriously, treating it as a fifth vital sign.  Szalavitz based her 10% addiction rate for marijuana on the weaker pot of the ’70s and ’80s, not the pot of today.  She also disregarded teen users of pot.

 

Arizona Pot Groups Uses Mother’s Day to Advertise Legalization Ballot

When pro legalization efforts rears its ugly head on Mother’s Day…

When managers of the Colorado and Washington pro-marijuana legalization campaigns were asked how they won in 2012, they said that focusing on women, specifically the moms, was key to their success.

The campaigns set out to convince parents that legalization would have four benefits: “Fewer profits for cartels, increased funding for schools, more time for police to focus on violent crime, and their children would not be affected.”  The opposite has turned out be true in all regards, and crime has increased.

In advance of Mother’s Day 2012, the Colorado Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Campaign ran TV advertisements in Denver of young woman emailing her mother saying that she was going to try marijuana instead of alcohol, because she thinks it’s safer.

Following that lead of exploiting Mother’s Day, the pro-legalization coalition in Arizona put up billboards in Phoenix and Tucson on Monday. The billboards feature a young woman and her mother, with the question: “Have you talked to your parents about marijuana?”  It’s also an obvious way to interest young potential customers, and attract young voters.

The Campaign to Regular Marijuana Like Alcohol called the billboard campaign a “playful angle on the conversations parents were urged for decades to have with their children about the dangers of marijuana and other drugs.legalization

A press release from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said: “For decades, the federal government distributed anti-marijuana propaganda to parents and encouraged them to share it with their children.

“The goal of the ads is to flip the script on marijuana education and encourage younger voters to start conversations about marijuana with their family members, especially older generations who have been led to believe marijuana is more harmful than it actually is.”  (Safer than alcohol” is a frequent but deceptive rallying cry of the marijuana lobby.)  Here’s more information on the ballot in Arizona, which is losing according to polls.

ARDP Opposition Responds to the Billboards

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy denounced the billboards, claiming they mock serious conversations about drugs between parents and kids. “There is nothing ‘playful’ about the serious conversations parents have with their children about the dangers of substance abuse,” said Seth Leibsohn, chair of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. “It is wholly irresponsible to mock substance abuse — and the hard work done by community preventionists and parents to keep their children safe — as a joke.”

Leibsohn called for the ads to be taken down immediately, noting that in nearby Colorado:

The billboards were paid for by the the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project, Yes on I-08-2016, with major funding from Marijuana Policy Project,  MPP Foundation, an out-of-state contributor,  Arizonans for Responsible Legalization and Monarch.