Our federal government is in utter disarray and lawmakers at the highest levels cannot be trusted to live up to the very words and promises that they swear by in front of the nation each day.
So when the DEA issued a formal report in 2017 stating definitively that they had zero records of death due to cannabis overdose, it was pleasantly surprising to hear an agency of the Federal Government get it right for once.
Note that they were not saying there were no deaths in 2017, or in the past ten years, or in the existence of the DEA…no, they were saying out loud what we already knew – in the 5,000 year relationship between mankind and cannabis, there have been zero recorded deaths due to overdose.
When researchers work to determine the toxicity of a substance, they use a term called LD-50.
LD-50 means the level of dosage administered before 50% of animal test subjects are killed by the substance. To this date, they have not been able to kill lab rats with weed. In fact, legit studies have shown that a human being would have to smoke something like 1,500 pounds of pot in 15 minutes or less to approach potentially fatal toxicity levels.
But why let five millennia of science and precedent get in the way of a moron with a microphone, right?
So it was earlier this week at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee where DEA Acting Administrator Robert Patterson looked DC lawmakers square in the eyes and casually barfed out the statement, “I am aware of a few deaths from marijuana.”
The brutally ignorant blurb came after Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, asked the Acting Administrator if he knew how many of the 64,000 reported drug overdoses in 2016 were due to opioid abuse.
Patterson replied that by the agency’s estimates, roughly 44,000 were due to pain pills. So, Rep. Johnson followed up by rephrasing the question, this time substituting “marijuana” for opiates”.
That is when Patterson just started making shit up.
“I don’t recall even seeing that on the charts,” Patterson blurted out, stunned. He immediately followed with his now infamous line, “I am aware of a few deaths from marijuana.”
The Congressman pressed on, asking for evidence of these alleged cannabis overdoses – the first in human history. Of course, Patterson didn’t have a shred of evidence, instead saying that he believed that the deaths may have been due to weed laced with foreign substances.
Sort of like saying water is deadly because you could always drink it with rat poison.
A flawed argument by the head honcho of the DEA, but not his only one of the day.
When asked why cannabis remains on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, Patterson said the decision is based on “science”. Once again, when pressed for more detail, Patterson went anecdotal and offered the highly scientific reply that he thinks that the nation is “going down a bad path with marijuana”.
Well who can argue with that science?!
The roast continued as several more Congressmen took a whack at Patterson’s stunning ignorance on the subject. Time and again, he countered with his own feelings and beliefs as though they are or should be DEA doctrine.
The exchanges witnessed in the nation’s capital are encouraging however, as they show us that there are some lawmakers who have done their homework on marijuana and who are looking to get on the right side of history.
In the meantime we just trust the DEA even less, somehow.