Issue 2 Passed: What Now?

Top Ten Lies from Big Marijuana

1) Marijuana is not addictive.

About 30% of regular users of marijuana become addicted, and that number increases among those who start early in life. Chronic marijuana addiction is associated with memory loss, poor job performance, lack of motivation, reduced energy and sex drive, as well as many chronic mental illnesses.1

2) It’s just kids experimenting.

Early and high dose use by kids risks changes in brain development so profound that they may be seen on brain scans. The result can be problems with learning, memory retention, problem solving, coordination, reaction time, judgement and motivation. Teen use is also strongly associated with eventual addiction.2

3) It’s safe for nausea in pregnancy.

Morning sickness can be miserable, but there are other effective treatments. Use in pregnancy increases the risk of fetal death, premature birth, low birth weight and impaired brain development affecting memory, learning and behavior.3

4) It’s a natural substance – not like an artificial drug.

So is tobacco, which killed 10 million Americans since 2000.  It took us nearly 50 years to recognize that tobacco causes cancer, emphysema and heart disease. Many of the chemicals in marijuana are potent insecticides and herbicides.  There are thousands of “natural” herbals that are toxic to humans, and we are discovering how toxic this one can be — especially to kids.

5) Being high on marijuana doesn’t affect driving.

Numerous studies show impaired reaction time, spatial awareness and depth perception. Most importantly, THC use often induces poor judgement related to alcohol and other drug use that has contributed to dramatically increased crash rates as marijuana use climbs.4

6) Marijuana isn’t a gateway to other drugs.

Early use is strongly linked with increased use of other drugs later in life.  Proponents suggest this is simply association – kids who take risks use more drugs.  THC diminishes executive function and judgement and alters neurodevelopment and gene expression in a manner that primes the brain for receptivity to other drugs, especially opioids.5,6

7) Smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt the lungs

Marijuana smoking is associated with large airway inflammation, increased airway resistance, and lung hyperinflation. 75% of male daily users (average age 49) had emphysema, a percentage higher even than tobacco smokers.7

8) Marijuana isn’t bad for mental health.

Occasional adult use at low doses seems relatively safe, but frequent use with current high-dose products is associated with depression and suicidality. In susceptible individuals, large THC doses may result in profound, acute psychotic episodes, and for some, incurable schizophrenia.  Use in adolescence substantially increases that risk.8

9) We should regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Were it not so tragic, this comparison would be a joke. Two-thirds of high school students have tried alcohol and one third use regularly with binge drinking being their normal mode of use.  The alcohol industry annually sells $17.6 billion worth of booze to underage adolescents, and regular teen use more frequently leads to alcoholism. These purveyors successfully target our kids. 140,000 Americans die annually from alcohol abuse, and it accounted for more than 20% of all deaths among young adults. Tax records show marijuana doesn’t subtract from alcohol use; it adds to it.9,10,11

10) Trust us.  We can write the laws ourselves.

Big Marijuana, like Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol, has one goal and one goal only: increase the popular availability and acceptance of their drug so they can sell more for profit, and they know if they don’t snare kids as teens, their business model collapses.  They write voluminous, confusing legal initiatives for voter approval that are designed with this goal.  Their proposals uniformly protect them and disadvantage kids.  Their guardrails are weak, ineffectual or non-existent.  The disastrous results in other states must be avoided.

Bonus Lie: “Cannabis” is the correct term.

The use of the term “cannabis” is a transparent racist attempt by the industry to whitewash the natural Spanish/Mexican origins of the name and the use of the drug. Cannabis is the generic name of the plant, hemp, while marijuana clearly refers to the psychoactive drug. This outrageous code-switch would be akin to the tobacco industry trying to use the term “nicotiania” rather than the word, tobacco, which has an indigenous Caribbean origin. Furthermore, use of the phrase, “adult use cannabis”, is an entirely cynical bid to divert the public’s attention from the fact that nearly all the drug’s users start as vulnerable teens.12

1 Cannabis Addiction and the Brain: a Review (2018)
A. Zehra, J. Burns, C. Liu, et all

2 Effects of Cannabis on the Adolescent Brain (2015)
J. Jacobus, S. Tapert

3 Cannabis and the Developing Brain: Insights into Its Long-Lasting Effects (2019)   
Y. Hurd, O. Manoni, M. Pletnikov, F. Lee, S. Bhattacharyya, M. Melis.

4 Marijuana-Impaired Driving: A Report to Congress (2017)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

5 Cannabis (Marijuana) Research Report (2020)
National Institute on Drug Abuse of the U.S. National Institutes of Health

6 Cannabis and the Developing Brain: Insights into Its Long-Lasting Effects (2019)   
Y. Hurd, O. Manoni, M. Pletnikov, F. Lee, S. Bhattacharyya, M. Melis

7 Chest CT Findings in Marijuana Smokers
L. Murtha, P. Sathiadoss, JP. Salameh, et al.

8 1) Cannabis (Marijuana) Research Report (2020) (Section on Mental Health)
National Institute on Drug Abuse of the U.S. National Institutes of Health

9 Company-Specific Revenues From Underage Drinking
R.H. Eck, P.J Trangenstein, M.Seigel, D.H. Jernigan

10 Alcohol-Related Emergencies and Deaths in the United States
National Institutes on Alcohol and Alcoholism – National Institutes of Health

11 Association of Recreational Cannabis Legalization With Alcohol Use
V. Macha, R. Abouk, C. Drake

12 Home Grown: Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico’s War on Drugs
Isaac Campos

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