08.07.2017
policy

People Aren’t Buying This Bogus Anti-Weed Article

When one misinformed writer disses legal weed, supporters fire back with firsthand accounts and hard facts.

On Monday, USA Today published the kind of misinformed, anti-weed diatribe that makes cannabis industry experts want to rip out their hair. The article, titled, “Marijuana devastated Colorado, don’t legalize it nationally,” should be the first big tip-off to the flaws contained in the piece's argument. 

In an opinion piece devoid of facts and sources, writer Jeff Hunt describes the ills of legalization with the hysterical, apocalyptic fervor typical of weed’s most vocal detractors. Hilariously, Hunt positions Colorado’s $156 million in marijuana tax revenue (from 2016 alone) as a trivial amount, and blames spikes in arrests for possession on weed legalization, instead of the country's systemically racist prison complex, that incarcerates minorities at a disproportional rate. 

As they say among meme fiends, nice try, sweaty. 

It is true “our country is facing a drug epidemic,” but Hunt fails to clarify that while opioid use propelled by major pharmaceutical companies has devastated countless American communities, pot has been proven to have medicinal benefits. And in states with medical marijuana laws, overdose rates are actually on the decline.  Similarly, as KINDLAND has previously reported, cannabis has actually helped those addicted to opiates recover from overuse of the highly addictive narcotics. 

Image via VSCO

Which makes me wonder, has Hunt failed to see one of those classic videos in which cannabis magically calms seizure-prone kids, or does he simply refuse to acknowledge reality?

Luckily, critical readers and Colorado residents aren’t as dumb as the publication would hope to believe. On Facebook, where USA Today shared the op-ed, you’ll find more than 2,000 comments poking massive holes in Hunt’s argument. 

As you might expect, on Facebook, there are testimonials from cannabis users who’ve found the plant to be immensely helpful. Take Bob Urell, for instance, who writes via comment, “I'm a Veteran dealing with a progressive neurological condition caused by Gulf War exposure. I'm not looking to get high, but CBD has some properties that might help me and thousands of other Veterans like me to live normal, or close to normal, lives.”

Bizarrely, Hunt argues that the existence of a cannabis black market in Colorado, means we shouldn’t legalize the drug, not recognizing illegal operations are a systemic problem, fueled by much more nefariousness than a legal marijuana market; and require time to solve—a timeline he might be confused about, since he writes Colorado legalized recreational weed in 2012. In actuality, Amendment 64 was passed in late 2012, and the law didn't even take effect until January of 2014; meaning we only have a measly three years of data to draw from. 

“Do you think that the black market on alcohol dried up overnight after prohibition?”

It’s interesting to think keeping cannabis use in the dark will do anything but exacerbate black market headaches. 

As Lisa Sweitzer Shay points out, “There will always be black markets, designer purses and shoes are sold on black market. There are also counterfeits. There will always be criminals trying to make a buck on anything. If there [are] flaws in system then fix them.” 

“Do you think that the black market on alcohol dried up overnight after prohibition?” asks Joseph Stafford III, adding, “This is called propaganda.”

Look no further than Colorado residents to tell it like it is. As Zack Lewis attests, “I live in Lakewood, Colorado. On the ground in a community that directly benefits from tax money made from marijuana sales. I see many positive things in my community with my own eyes that have come as a result of legalization of marijuana. Tell me more about what Google says on your computer screen in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.”

Of course, the writer’s byline contains everything you need to know about his lack of qualifications for writing anything weed-adjacent. As the Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University and a huge #MAGA blowhard, it’s unlikely Hunt pored over data-driven analyses of cannabis consumption, or marijuana-related policy, or most headlines relating to weed, before writing this story that would perhaps be better suited for his private journal.

Which, unfortunately, is the case for many articles pertaining to the drug. And when public opinion is so crucial for political change, this is a problem. 

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