On what has become known as something of a holiday among pot advocates, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws wants to clear up one of the government’s favorite drug war myths.
Since President Donald Trump appointed drug war crusader Jeff Sessions to the top spot at the Justice Department, marijuana legalization advocates have experienced increased anxiety about their movement’s future.
Sessions, who cut his teeth as a U.S. Attorney during the early years of the War on Drugs, has made no secret of his distaste for the liberalization of U.S. marijuana laws.
If you need a little background about the attorney general’s old fashioned views on marijuana laws, here are a few recent Personal Liberty articles which explain where he’s coming from and where he’s likely to steer Justice Department policy on the matter:
Marijuana is currently legal in some form or another in 29 U.S. states. In eight of those states, residents are legally allowed to consume the drug recreationally.
So far, there’s absolutely no evidence that legalization has increased drug addiction or crime rates.
Research about the effects of marijuana legalization in certain states actually provides evidence to the contrary.
For instance, research from RAND suggests that states with legal medical marijuana dispensaries are seeing drops in accidental overdoses from opiate drug use.
From the research:
The estimated sizes of the reductions were 16 to 31 percent in mortality due to prescription opioid overdoses, and 28 to 35 percent in admissions for treatment of opioid addiction. This latter reduction was steeper, up to 53 percent, among patients who entered treatment independently of the criminal justice system.
In terms of negative consequences associated with granting residents the liberty to decide for themselves what they put into their bodies, the biggest thing anti-pot crusaders can point to is anecdotal evidence that police are pulling over more people accused of driving while high.
Still, federal officials continue to insist that legalization of marijuana could tear apart the fabric of American society.
Why? Because it is a gateway drug, they say.
Just the other day, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said marijuana is a “dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs.”
The DHS chief went on to say that his agency will be working overtime to “investigate marijuana’s illegal pathways along the network into the U.S., its distribution within the homeland, and will arrest those involved in the drug trade according to federal law.”
His statement wouldn’t have been all that surprising if, just two days earlier, he hadn’t told NBC’s Chuck Todd that “marijuana is not a factor in the drug war.”
Someone within the Trump administration must’ve set him straight.
The problem with everything anyone in the administration has said about marijuana to date is that each statement has been rooted in the same propaganda drug warriors have pushed since the release of Reefer Madness.
Research, meanwhile, is constantly dismantling their claims about the drug.
NORML deputy director Paul Armentano pointed that out in a column published today in The Hill. He notes that there is not only a clear lack of evidence that marijuana use leads to the use of harder street drugs, there’s proof that marijuana legalization is decreasing the use of other drugs.
From his well-researched piece:
According to a just-published review of the medical histories of over 1,500 patients residing in medicinal marijuana states, cannabis therapy was associated with significant reductions in subjects’ use of anti-anxiety medications, sleep aids, and anti-depressants. Forty-two percent of study subjects also acknowledged reducing their alcohol intake. The findings are similar to those from Canada, where medical access to marijuana is legal nationwide, and patients report using cannabis in place of opiates, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants, as well as in lieu of alcohol and tobacco.
And that’s probably why government is willing to continue telling outright lies about the effects of marijuana legalization. The plant, which doesn’t exactly take a green thumb to successfully cultivate, simply poses too massive a threat to industries making billions of dollars via government-approved doping of Americans.
Drugs are bad, except for the ones our overlords say are good.
At this point, with 60 percent of Americans supporting national marijuana legalization and 88 percent saying the feds should leave legal weed states alone, any efforts to enforce federal marijuana laws in those states should be viewed as a vulgar display of federal power on behalf of monied special interests.
That is, unless your high enough to actually believe the propaganda these guys are pushing: