Lawmakers at both the state and federal levels have openly admitted that their lack of experience with and knowledge about cannabis makes it difficult for them to legislate either in favor of or in opposition to legalizing the use of the plant. They cite a shortage of peer-reviewed, scientific data without a second thought about the irony of their inaction and the effect is has on delaying such research.
The fact of the matter is, there is a lot of cannabis research being conducted across the country. We’re talking lab-grade, university-level studies that have made some massive revelations about the plant just in the past few years.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of bullshit studies being conducted as well either intentionally muddying the scientific waters on the issue, or doing so out of pure ineptitude. The end result is the same; for every pro-cannabis news release, there seems to be a negative headline right on deck to counter it.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDS?
One of the final crumbling pillars of cannabis prohibition here in the U.S. is the exhaustively debunked claim that legalizing cannabis for adults will lead to a spike in the use of the plant by adolescents. Basic common sense would tell anyone with a half a brain cell that keeping weed illegal keeps it on the streets. Legal dispensaries pay huge amounts of money to get into business and to remain compliant with the law. They check every customer’s ID and nobody underage gets inside. That’s not how it works on the street.
Some soccer moms and professional prohibitionists warn that legal weed will be purchased in a dispensary then resold on the street to neighborhood kids. Anybody saying that has no idea what they are talking about. Furthermore, at some point people have to take responsibility for their lives and their kids’ lives. People kill other people every day in this country while driving drunk. The liquor store isn’t to blame. If your kid is buying 8ths of “legal” weed for $70+ and blazing it up and you as the parent have no idea, you have failed as a parent on so many levels that blaming the plant for it is… well… let’s just say, unnatural.
Are teens vaping more cannabis-related products than ever before? Yep.
Are some people going to the hospital after vaping some cannabis-related products? Yep.
Are teens or adults going to the hospital after vaping legally cultivated/processed/purchased cannabis-related products? NO.
Not only is the way that legal weed is sold heavily regulated, the way that it is grown and processed is as well. Cannabis buds, concentrates, edibles, etc. are put through a rigorous and strict round of third party laboratory testing to ensure they are free from various impurities before they make it to the shelf of a legal, licensed dispensary. None of that is required of basement or garage extractors fueling the street markets of America.
According to data recently released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) – a division of the federal U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:
In 2018, an estimated 164.8 million people aged 12 or older in the United States (60.2 percent) were past month substance users (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs). About 2 out of 5 people aged 12 or older (108.9 million, or 39.8 percent) did not use substances in the past month. The 164.8 million past month substance users in 2018 include 139.8 million people who drank alcohol, 58.8 million people who used a tobacco product, and 31.9 million people who used an illicit drug.
Ok, let’s break that down real quick. According to a study by our own federal government, 3 out of every 5 American kids ages 12 and up have messed around with some form of intoxicating substance in the past month. That seems…high. But then look at how skewed the numbers are from alcohol use, to tobacco use, then the major drop off to “illicit drug” use. Cannabis only constitutes a mere fraction of the amount of booze and cigarette abuse by U.S. teens. Meanwhile, my local GROCERY STORE just opened a wine bar where moms get sloshed and drive away.
Here’s the good news for all alarmed, underinformed, and possibly drunk parents out there – this same government study found that the number of teenagers who say that they have used cannabis specifically in the recent past continued its years-long downward trend in 2018. This despite the fact that cannabis legalization has only become more widespread in that same time and the fact that we were told by every weed-hater that the opposite would happen and our streets would be flooded with prepubescent pot zombies.
According to this report from SAMSHA, just 12.5% of U.S. teens confessed to taking a toke in the past 30 days. Compare that to 2002 when a similar study revealed that 15.8% of the same age group was blazing buds.
Call it the “Fortnite Effect”, the age of digital distraction, or whatever you want but the numbers tell us that the more legal cannabis gets, the less “cool” and rebellious it appears in the eyes of adolescents.
These statistics are undeniable evidence that should be weighing heavily on the minds of our nation’s lawmakers as they contemplate cannabis reform.
The federal survey from SAMSHA was based on data acquired from 67,791 in-person interviews with respondents ages 12 and up but as we learned just yesterday, anyone can find - or bury - a study to support their own bias.
A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR LIE
In a perfect illustration of exactly what sort of fuckery we’re up against, yesterday Jerome Adams, the Surgeon General of the United States, took the stage for a televised press conference to make a public statement on behalf of himself and President Trump regarding the rising popularity of cannabis nationwide. We can confidently say that Adams was speaking for Trump since the publication of the report that Adams was citing during the presser was funded by a $100,000 donation from the president’s personal salary.
Louder for the people in the back… President Trump personally allocated $100,000 of his own salary to plop the Surgeon General on his knee and work him like a dummy to spread blatant misinformation about marijuana to the country.
According to Adams/Trump, cannabis use leads to “physical dependence, addiction, and other negative consequences.”
Flanking Adams on the stage yesterday was U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar who used his time on the mic to falsely blurt that cannabis use is “linked to risk for and early onset of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia.”
But the real message is aimed at the alleged danger to the kiiiiiiiiiiiids, since that’s all they’ve got left.
Adams regurgitated his report onto the mic saying, “[H]igh school students’ perception of the harm from regular marijuana use has been steadily declining over the last decade. During this same period, a number of states have legalized adult use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, while it remains legal under federal law. The legalization movement may be impacting youth perception of harm from marijuana.”
Because he clearly has no soul, Azar allowed this lie to be peddled despite the fact that his own subcommittee – SAMSHA – just released year over year data completely contradicting the bullshit being spewed by the Surgeon General.
There is no mention of the SAMSHA findings in the Surgeon General’s written advisory either.
Any one of you who came up smoking weed and studying its history in the past 2-3 decades has heard hazy stories of the big bad government shelving studies that showed the plant to be beneficial. Whether you bought into them then, or thought they were just conspiracy theories, there is no doubt that shit is really happening right now, right in front of our allegedly woke faces.
So, for those of you banking on Trump legalizing weed, you might want to start to consider a Plan B since his Plan A appears to be personally bankrolling prohibitionist propaganda.
We are opposed by the most powerful forces on the planet, yet this plant continues to push forward. We will continue to publish the truth about this real-time history in the making.