Drug Warriors Lean on Bad Science

Bad Cannabis Science - The US is LAST to Spend on Cannabis ResearchThe statistics don't always point to the facts.

The June 18th opinion page of the Christian Science Monitor featured an attack on cannabis policy reform based on numbers with lack of depth.

Put our kids first, Mr. Holder, and enforce federal law against marijuana,” states David G. Evans, Executive Director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition and a board member of the Drug Free America Foundation.

This opinion piece fell back on the old soft-science and wordplay that drug warriors have relied on for decades.

With elaborate claims of drugged driving and a marijuana rehab epidemic, Evans proves to be more worried about sensationalist rhetoric than solving substance abuse issues and repairing our flawed criminal justice system. 

Just this month, the American Civil Liberties Union reminded us that the biggest factor in being arrested for cannabis can very well be the color of your skin.

The claims of drugged driving [ed: while under the influence of cannabis] being a detriment to all are overstated. We have known for over a decade there is no evidence that consumption of cannabis alone increases the risk of culpability for traffic crash fatalities or injuries for which hospitalization occurs, and may reduce those risks.

Finally in regards to the great spike in “use” by people with dependency issues in medical states entering treatment for cannabis, this is more a result of our criminal justice approach than a need for medical attention.

If a cannabis offender is given the chance to participate in these rehabilitation programs [ed: such as SAM] or be incarcerated, I think we can safely assume much of the time folks will do what is in their best interest to avoid jail or probation. This “slap on the wrist and we’ll throw the record out if you complete the program” approach just serves to heavily inflate the numbers around cannabis specific rehabilitation.

Most important to this fact is that according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, from 2002-2011 there was essentially no change in the number of people with cannabis dependency issues in the US.

In fact, the number actually decreased in that time from 4.3 million to 4.2 million.  Click to Open Report

So we have less people dependent on cannabis according to the government’s own numbers, but there is a spike in abuse in medical states, Washington, and Colorado? This is unrealistic and definitely falls back to people not wanting to enter the criminal justice system when given the choice.

These are the realities of the information being presented to us via the scientific method, not old talking points from detractors proven to be more and more wrong on a daily basis.