By "Radical" Russ Belville
As 50% of Americans now support marijuana legalization, the prohibitionists are coming out in full force with hysterical propaganda to once again terrorize voters about cannabis. I intended to scour multiple sources to compile the five most common scare tactics they use, but Joseph Summerill, director of the Summerill Group LLC, a Washington, D.C.- based law enforcement think tank and general counsel for the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, made my job easy by using all five in one op-ed piece published today in the Washington Examiner entitled, “Facts on medical marijuana are stubborn things, too“.
Lie #1) Marijuana’s not really medical. The government says so!
[M]arijuana is a Schedule I drug… a high potential for abuse or dependency… no accepted medical value… unsafe to use, even under medical supervision. [M]arijuana has not passed the rigid scrutiny of medicine proposed by the FDA.
Lie #2) Doctors and scientists don’t approve of smoked medicine; they do approve of Marinol.
Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association acknowledged the lack of data to support the use of smoked marijuana for medicinal purposes.
What is scientifically approved by the FDA and accepted by the medical community is a medicine called Marinol, a legal, widely prescribed drug currently in pill form containing synthetic THC, a main constituent in marijuana.
Lie #3) Marijuana smoke is much worse than cigarette smoke!
[S]moked marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, many of which are identical to the most harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. The fact is that a marijuana cigarette contains four times as much tar as a tobacco cigarette.
Lie #4) Marijuana is the gateway drug to cocaine, meth, and heroin!
[L]egalizing marijuana leads to the use of more dangerous and harmful drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine…. [T]eens who smoke marijuana were found to be 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those teens who do not smoke marijuana.
Lie #5) Marijuana legalization leads to carnage on the highways!
[M]arijuana use, including its use for medicinal purposes, is directly related to motor vehicle accidents and reckless driving, as cannabis affects psychomotor functioning.
In a study of fatally injured drivers in Washington state, a state with legalized medical marijuana, about one every eight tested positive for marijuana.
* OK, that one I just made up. But I’ll bet if you asked 100 Hells Angels bikers, nearly all of them rode a bicycle as a kid. I’ll bet a great majority of rapists have used pornography. I’ll bet nearly every anorexic has seen a skinny model on a magazine cover. But we don’t prohibit something most people handle responsibly because we think it might lead a few people to do something else irresponsibly.