5 Favorite Law Enforcement Lies About Marijuana

Gallup Polls Support and Opposition to Marijuana Legalization 1969-2011
As 50% of Americans now support marijuana legalization, the prohibitionists are coming out in full force with hysterical propaganda to once again terrorize voters about cannabis.  We intended to scour multiple sources to compile the five most common scare tactics they use, but Joseph Summerill, director of the Summerill Group LLC, a Washington, D.C.- based law enforcement think tank and general counsel for the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, made our job easy by using all five in one op-ed piece published today in the Washington Examiner entitled, “Facts on medical marijuana are stubborn things, too“.
Lie #1) Marijuana’s not really medical.  The government says so!

[M]arijuana is a Schedule I drug… a high potential for abuse or dependency… no accepted medical value… unsafe to use, even under medical supervision.  [M]arijuana has not passed the rigid scrutiny of medicine proposed by the FDA.

The Truth


Lie #2) Doctors and scientists don’t approve of smoked medicine; they do approve of Marinol.

Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association acknowledged the lack of data to support the use of smoked marijuana for medicinal purposes.
What is scientifically approved by the FDA and accepted by the medical community is a medicine called Marinol, a legal, widely prescribed drug currently in pill form containing synthetic THC, a main constituent in marijuana.

The Truth

  • The American Medical Association said, “smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
  • Marinol is 100% synthetic THC (the psychoactive component) suspended in a sesame oil capsule.  Cannabis flowers are around 5%-30% natural THC combined with CBD (a component that moderates psychoactivity) and other beneficial compounds.
  • Inhaling cannabis is a superior delivery mechanism for it allows the patient to self-titrate (adjust dose) and get immediate relief.  It’s especially helpful to inhale cannabis rather than swallow a Marinol pill when one is vomiting.  We recognize many inhaled medications (think: steroid inhalers for asthma patients) and when vaporized, any harms from smoking cannabis are eliminated.

Lie #3) Marijuana smoke is much worse than cigarette smoke!

[S]moked marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, many of which are identical to the most harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. The fact is that a marijuana cigarette contains four times as much tar as a tobacco cigarette.

The Truth

  • My pencil contains five components, two of which are identical to the graphite found in golf clubs and the wood found in golf tees.  This does not make my pencil a golf club or a tee.  Water contains hydrogen and oxygen.  This does not make water flammable or breathable.  Many recipes call for the same ingredients; it’s how you put them together that matters.  Joints aren’t cigarettes, they’re far safer than that.
  • Dr. Donald Tashkin went looking for that “marijuana causes cancer” connection and found quite the opposite, that cannabis smokers had lower incidence of head, neck, and lung cancer.  We even have compelling evidence that cannabinoids may be instrumental in unlocking the cure for cancer.
  • Very few tokers smoke 20 to 40 joints a day, but even if they did, where are these marijuana smokers with the tar-ravaged lungs filling up our hospitals?  Again, we have zero recorded deaths from cannabis smoking and over 400,000 annual deaths from tobacco use.  Joints aren’t cigarettes.

Lie #4) Marijuana is the gateway drug to cocaine, meth, and heroin!

[L]egalizing marijuana leads to the use of more dangerous and harmful drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine…. [T]eens who smoke marijuana were found to be 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those teens who do not smoke marijuana.

The Truth

  • Teens who ride bicycles were found to be 85 times more likely to join an outlaw biker gang than teens who don’t ride bicycles*.  So we should outlaw bicycles?  Sure, most cocaine users may have started first with pot, but they also probably started with alcohol before that and milk before that.
  • That same Institute of Medicine report Mr. Summerill referenced in Lie #2 said, “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”
  • According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 100 million American adults have tried cannabis.  There are currently about 1.5 million monthly cocaine users, 430 thousand monthly meth users, and 192 thousand monthly heroin users.  So for every 46 people who’ve ever tried pot, only one went on to become a monthly hard drug user.  A gateway that only affects 2.1% of the people isn’t much of a gateway.

* OK, that one we just made up.
Lie #5) Marijuana legalization leads to carnage on the highways!

[M]arijuana use, including its use for medicinal purposes, is directly related to motor vehicle accidents and reckless driving, as cannabis affects psychomotor functioning.
In a study of fatally injured drivers in Washington state, a state with legalized medical marijuana, about one every eight tested positive for marijuana.

The Truth

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said of marijuana testing of drivers, “It is inadvisable to try and predict effects based on blood THC concentrations alone, and currently impossible to predict specific effects based on THC-COOH concentrations” because “[d]etection time is well past the window of intoxication and impairment.” Finding pot in some drivers’ systems following a crash just tells you some people smoke pot.
  • From 2008-2009, fatal crashes in the states that had medical marijuana declined overall 9.34%.  Only one medical marijuana state, Rhode Island, had an increase greater than 3%, which resulted in 18 more deaths.  Four other states had 1%-3% increases, leading to 9 additional deaths.  Of the remaining eight states that saw declines, half saw double-digit declines, including the laxest medical marijuana state, California, which had 353 fewer traffic fatalities.
  • Legalizing marijuana does not legalize DUI.  People who smoke pot and drive now are busted in all fifty states and legalization doesn’t change that.

When it comes to medical information and the safety record of cannabis, we’ll trust real doctors and 5,000 years of historical use.  Not the ramblings of a law enforcement think tank director desperately trying to save asset forfeiture proceeds, federal grant money, and overtime hours for state and local cops and job security for prison guards.

110 thoughts

  1. Tu., 10/25/11
    Federal marihuana prohibition (1937) followed almost on the heels of Prohibition abolition (the 21st Amendment, ratified in December,1933). Most of the first federal narcs were former Prohibition agents. Go to YouTube.com and see and hear Harry J. Anslinger spout his evil lies. The anti-grass laws (as well as anti-narcotic laws in general) are historically rooted in White racism and outright hysteria. It was only in the mid-1906’s, amid the antiwar and hippy culture, when White middle class kids, the sons of teachers, bankers, doctors, lawyers and (yes) cops were facing draconian minimum prison terms that some (but sadly not all) State legislatures greatly reduced the possible punishments. “Reefer Madness” is based heavily on warped politics and outright hysteria– and not on objective pharmacology. Let’s not let law enforcement continue to dictate public health policies. Sargeant Joe Friday, butt out!

  2. As mentioned earlier, but cannot be repeated enough:
    When the US Patent Office issued Patent #6,630,507 in 2003, to an agency of the US Federal Government (NIH), the DEA should have immediately moved Cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3. I have not heard the argument relating to how shrinking cancer tumors is NOT a medicinal property of Marijuana, as stated in the patent.

  3. Do not wait until this is being bandied about during the elections. Make sure you email this article to everyone well ahead of the elections so they can forward to others and so they will not buy the prohibitionist’s arguments when they are spewed forth. Better to forewarn than have to try to stop the damage.
    BTW…how many states are looking like they will be voting on legalization in 2012?

  4. If we are the UNITED STATES of AMERICA then why is marijuana not for the states to decide? Or are we THE UNITED GOVERNMENT of AMERICA? They all will have to answer for their crimes in this govt. WE the PEOPLE are going to self defense against police violence toward protesters. If they don’t like where the people stand . TOO BAD! The only way we’re going is to go away is when things go as THERE SUPPOSE TO BE FOR ALL AMERICA!

  5. I am starting to believe that those who become addicted are actually the people who need it medicinally, or those who grow up thinking of weed as they do cigarettes and alcohol. Many parents in minority communities do not hide it from their children because they understand that they will discover it anyway. Just a cultural observation. I believe drug awareness programs like D.A.R.E. Have an inverse effect on children, making the programs very good advertisement campaigns for drugs. If you don’t tell the kids what is or is not bad, they wouldn’t actively try to find out what’s bad about it.

  6. Minnesota U.S. Senate DFL Candidate running in next August’s DFL Senate Primary Elction in Minnesota supports the creation of a Federal Medical Marijuana Program
    Jack “Doc” Shepard asks you to vote for him in the August 14, Minnesota DFL Primary for the U.S. Senate to remove Ex- Hennepin County Prosecutor Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who in 9 years has doubled the Minnesota Prison population with non-violent drug users when she was head prosecutor.
    Jack “Doc” Shepard as only one of a handful of openly Pro-Medical Marijuana Candidates for the U.S. Senate in America needs your support to eliminate a head Prosecuting Attorney who fought hard against the State of Minnesota from get a Medical Marijuana Law.
    If you have any friends in the State of Minnesota please alert them next August 14, 2012 to vote for Jack “Doc” Shepard to draw attention for the legalization of Medical Marijuana Nationally, and to punish Prosecuting Attorney Amy Klobuchar for her drive to put first time non-violent drug offenders in Prison rather then treatment or re-entry programs which Dr. Shepard supports.
    So spread the word to all you friends in Minnesota kick ex-Prosecuting Attorney out of the U.S. Senate and try to get Jack “Doc” Shepard a Pro-Medical Marijuana candidate in the next U.S. Senate who will start pressuring the FDA and the National Government as Senator Shepard to complete rethink its Federal Law against the legal use of Medical Marijuana.
    To say marijuana does not have any medical benefits is 100% false according to Dr. Shepard a strong Pro-Medical Marijuana Candidate running for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota’s next Aug. 14, 2012 DFL U.S. Senate Primary.
    So if you support Medical Marijuana get out the vote in Minnesota next Augusts’ DFL Senate Primary Election and a even $5 donation will help him get out the news about Medical Marijuana has medicinal uses that are so urgently needed by many very ill American for many different reason everything from stopping the advancement of Glaucoma to stimulating appetite for those under going painful chemotherapy. To list all the medicinal benefits of Marijuana would take pages.
    Dr. Jack Shepard is a person who can empower our citizens, and restore the foundations of our nation’s strength. And work at the Federal Level for a complete re-think of the Federal Ban on Medical Marijuana.
    Email him with you ideas and advice at contact@jackshepardforsenate.com to donate go to his contribution web secure web page on http://www.jackshepardforsenate.com
    Spread the word Shepard for Senate in Minnesota because we need someone in the Senate to work for a complete re-think of the Federal Ban on Medical Marijuana- so support Jack “Doc” Shepard U.S. DFL Senate candidate in his Minnesota Senate Primary next August 14, 2012.
    Thank you and please put me into a position to help others by working to pass a Federal National Medical Marijuana program- Dr. Jack Shepard

  7. Isn’t it true that making pot legal would help prevent the access to other, more dangerous drugs?
    The smart shopper would never go to a street dealer again if pot was legal.
    I think there might be a chance that especially young people would not be tempted to try using other stuff if they wouldn’t have to see a drug dealer to get their pot.
    But why exactly is it still illegal?
    If it was because of how toxic and dangerous pot is, then alcohol and tobacco would be illegal as well.
    Is it because it has such a versatile use as treatment for diseases, but pharma wants to sell their pills instead of losing thousands and millions of dollars because we would grow our medicine for ourselves?
    I have had huge problems with my mental health and believe it or not, pot helps to keep all these disorders locked away.
    I suffer(ed) from various mental disorders (like ADHD, or depression and more.)
    I don’t want to take 5 pills just to feel better in one way, but different and worse in another way.
    All these pills have serious side effects and there are more pills coming out all the time.
    I’ve seen all those “recall ads” made by law firms, where they tell how people who have used new medicines got really messed up for life or have died. It is frightening.
    I have this theory, that pharma and doctors rather want to keep their “patients”, as their regular customers.
    “Let’s keep ’em medicated and keep ’em sick, let’s not heal ’em. We need more customers.” (Otherwise pot might be legal. But it might just be another stupid theory.)

  8. The stupidity of “decriminalization” is that growing marijuana and selling it are still felonies. It is literally going to be used so law enforcement can focus on making sure there isn’t any marijuana for you to purchase. It doesn’t really help our cause at all.

  9. The Gov. Knows that pot is good for you It cancels out the dumbing down drugs they put in the water.HA HA??They will loose because we will never stop trying to be free.Amen.

  10. My husband is a disabled Vietnam Veteran who has been taking Marinol since 2003. Insurance recently stopped paying for his medicine and it costs more than he receives in disability benefits. He had a few plants in the back yard, police helicopters spotted them and he was taken to jail. I was able to get a bondsman, but it took all our savings to get him out. He now faces 11 years in jail if convicted. He is not a criminal, just a sick old man who served his country. We are in Florida, and found an organization called “People United for Medical Marijuana” (PUFMM) who are trying to get an ammendment to Florida’s ballot in 2012, but they need thousands more petitions signed. Please, if you are registered to vote in FL, look up pufmm.org, print and sign and mail the petition. They are needed by February 2012. thank you

  11. It is not just Big Pharm thats the problem.
    A big part of marijuana becoming illegal was Rockefeller. Turns out Hemp seeds make really cheap gas to.And of course, don’t forget our friend bigotry.
    For those that want/need to speek from the truth please read “The Pot Book” NOW.
    Also, Please consider that the – uninformed, life destorying policy enforcers – are not going to give up their jobs for you or your rights. No matter how you feel about these jackals, they have bills to.
    We need to leave it the people of each state, to decide how they want it done in Their state.
    If you don’t want it in your state, okay. Just leave my state alone.
    We need to focus on our own states. If we can get our own states going, maybe we can push the feds right out of the picture.
    As Pres.Obama recently said “The Federal Goverment has Preeminent Authority”
    If we can remove the “what”. There will be nothing to be authority of.
    Never Forget… May4.org

  12. “According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 100 million American adults have tried cannabis. There are currently about 1.5 million monthly cocaine users, 430 thousand monthly meth users, and 192 thousand monthly heroin users. So for every 46 people who’ve ever tried pot, only one went on to become a monthly hard drug user. A gateway that only affects 2.1% of the people isn’t much of a gateway.
    * OK, that one we just made up.”
    …when saying “OK, that one we just made up”
    do you mean that that^ is a lie?

  13. I have two teenage son. My 16 year old smokes weed. I am so glad that’s his preference. I’ve smoked it amd when I was his age we were all getting drunk. weed is so much safer.

  14. Kaufman, Texas is ground zero on January 6, 2012, When Judy Rayford go to trial for marijuana the trooper found after he allowed me to leave and had held me for over 3 hours with cannine and other officers search my van.Based on the trooper’s blatant lie that I was driving on shoulder of road. First charge-warning for driving on shoulder and drug paraph. I asked to go to court and was told the charges would be upped if I did not pay the fine during pre-trial. Got that Ticket in Feb. In August the charge had been dropped and I was charged with possession of marijuana. I check the troopers history and this appears to be standard practice. NEED VISIBILITY FOR AN EXCELLENT CASE OF ABUSE
    61 year DISABLE grand mother with no criminal or driving record and they offered me a year probation in Texas, knowing I live in Georgia
    THIS CASE IS A GOLD MINE OF INJUSTICE AND VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS

  15. It is A shame how much the law gets away with and its not equal.Exampel (1) If you see a cop going down the road doing say 100 mph and he has no lights or siren on who is going 2 give him a ticket? If you are going down the road and the speed limit is say 55 and your doing 50 and a cop pull’s you over for speeding you get a ticket for speeding cause he/she said so.Now lets talk about so called drug’s for 1 I dont look at POT as A drug it’s A cure for alot of things like how about our national dept legalize it and it will help it only 1/3 of the drug’s taken for evedince is reported what happen’s 2 the rest of it? they use it why cant we it’s only weed.Man made beer GOD made weed TRUST IN GOD well that about raps that up.

  16. I GOT HIT BY LIGHTING IN 96 IVE GOT SO MUCH BODY PAIN.IVE BEEN THROUGH LORTAB AND OTHER DRUGS. ID NEVER TRYED POT THE SMELL WAS NASTY UNTIL I HURT SO BAD I JUST COULDNT TAKE IT ANY MORE.I TOOK 4 HITS OFF A JOINT AND MAN IT EASED THE PAIN SO MUCH AND I GOT THE FIRST GOOD NIGHT SLEEP IN MANY YEARS.ITS TIME WE START HELPING PEOPLE THAT ARE SICK.AND STOP BEING STUIPED.IF IT WORKD AND IS SAFER WHATS TO THINK .NOW U NO HOW FOOLISH U LOOK UP IN OFFICE

  17. I cannot believe that people are not taking into consideration the young generation of this country. I think your groups motives are selfish and only concerned with being able to smoke pot in public and get people out of jail. GET A REAL JOB

  18. we are drug free law abbiding husband and wife but we got our child of 14 years taken away because we smoked marijuana. ONLY because Ive had traumatic head ,neck,and brain damage since 1994 and its the safest most effective medicine Ive ever used bar none. heeeelp!!! please!!

  19. As someone who suffers from chronic pain doctors give you enough pain pillls you can’t function or you use a little marijuana. whats your coice?

  20. Pot is a gateway drug. A gateway to get off harmful medications that are expensive and killing people nation wide. How many people are eating hand fulls of oxytocins, or pharmacist messing up doeses or prescription.

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