Lies were used to fool voters in states where marijuana “medicalization” or legalization was on the ballot and the lies continue to be foisted on the public for political power and money. Let me identify and answer a few of the lies.
No One is in Jail for simple pot possession
The public continues to hear from leftist politicians and the industry that millions of citizens are in jail for pot possession. John Boehner (a lobbyist in the past for big tobacco) who has recently become a marijuana industry consultant, repeated that lie, and received four Pinocchios from the Washington Post. Last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), made similar remarks at the We the People summit. Making the case for criminal justice reform, Warren claimed that the United States locks up more people for “low-level offenses on marijuana” than for all violent crimes. She also received four Pinocchios. About 3% of incarcerations are for all drug offenses while over 50% are in for violent crimes. Boehner is getting paid to lie and Warren hopes to expand her political base by lying about pot.
Botanical Pot is Not a Medicine
Last week the pot industry used complicit media to announce, “FDA Approves First Cannabis-based Drug.” Epidiolex is a prescription drug for children with severe epilepsy. This media headline is a lie on at least three levels. First, Dronabinol (also known as Marinol) was the first cannabis based product approved by the FDA in 1985. Cessamet was also approved in 1985.
Second, there is no comparison between FDA approved drugs that have strict double blind testing for efficacy and potential side effects, requirements for purity and pot, even the pot being sold in “dispensaries.” Multiple tests of pot samples obtained from “permitted” California “dispensaries” indicate at least 94% test positive for pesticides, molds, mildews, e-coli or other bacteria. Many of the pesticides aren’t even legal in the US (they are legal in Mexico). And, pot users don’t go to doctors for prescriptions, get potency or frequency limits and side effect warnings, and they don’t go back for follow up visits. They use pot to get high and willingly ignore the many negative side effects in addition to the poisons that include mental and physical impairment, addiction, potential paranoia, psychosis, memory loss, amotivational syndrome, anxiety, heart and lung impacts, etc.
Third, the pot industry has no interest in becoming FDA (or even California State) approved. Less than 1% of pot grows in California have been licensed since legalization. And, even the FDA approved drugs are only marginally effective. Epidiolex has been shown helpful in about 1/3 of cases, ineffective in about 1/3 of cases and harmful in about 1/3 of cases; information left out of any stories on the “benefits” of pot use.
Black Market Marijuana Continues After Legalization
Campaigns for pot legalization promise to eliminate or dramatically reduce the black market and provide strong regulations and tax revenues. The reality is much different. Arrests in Colorado related to marijuana actually increased after “legalization”. That is because the drug is more normalized and there are laws and regulations related to growing, manufacturing and selling that tend to be ignored by those in or adjacent to the industry. California produces about 10 times more marijuana than it consumes, so, it is the pot drug cartel for the rest of the country. Most goes east where prices are higher. There is no sign of that diminishing.
Regulation of Marijuana is Not Working
Proponents of legalization always claim you have to legalize in order to regulate. As of January 1st 2018 all marijuana in California was to be tested for purity and potency, labeled, and tracked from seed to final sale. After a 6 month reprieve the state is finally saying testing and labeling are now required. The industry is begging for more time. The state says “no” but without proactive enforcement there will likely be little compliance. And, there is still no “seed to sale” tracking in place that was promised to voters.So, nearly all the marijuana being sold “legally” will continue to come from unpermitted illegal and unregulated grows.
Tax revenues were another lie. Tax revenue from marijuana sales is minimal, much lower than originally estimated, and will not cover the social and bureaucratic costs. The harms and costs of addiction, driving crashes, student drop outs, crime and other social costs will far outpace tax revenues. Ironically, the state legislature, aligned with the industry, is now concerned that the “legal” market can’t compete with the black market and is urging taxes on pot need to be lowered.
Is there any promise related to legalized marijuana that will be kept? We can think of one. That is the one we made, that legalization won’t be good.