Setting The Record Straight


One of NORML’s primary missions is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults. One of the ways we successfully achieve this goal is by debunking marijuana myths and half-truths via the publication of timely op-eds in online and print media. Since the mainstream media seldom casts a critical eye toward many of the more over-the-top claims about cannabis, we take it upon ourselves to set the record straight.

The majority of NORML’s rebuttals are penned by Deputy Director Paul Armentano. In the past few weeks, he has published numerous op-eds rebuking a litany of popular, but altogether specious claims about the cannabis plant – including the contentions that cannabis consumption is linked to heart attacks, psychosis, violence, and a rise in emergency room visits and traffic fatalities, among other allegations.

Below are links to a sampling of his recent columns.:

Major ‘drugged driving’ report’s findings prove overblown

Attorney General Jeff Sessions thinks legalizing pot increases violent crime – he’s wrong

The evidence is overwhelming; cannabis is an exit drug fro major addictions, not a gateway to new ones

Pot, heart attacks, and the media hype cycle

The five biggest lies about pot – and how to rebut them

Trump administration’s dubious claims about pot and opioids are dead wrong

Debunking the latest viral pot paranoid theory

Three new scientific studies that debunk conventional marijuana myths

You’d be crazy to believe the ‘reefer madness’ study

For a broader sampling of NORML-centric columns and media hits, please visit NORML’s ‘In the Media’ archive here.

If you see the importance of NORML’s educational and media outreach efforts, please feel free to show your support by making a contribution here.

23 thoughts

  1. It seems that “reefer madness” has metastasized into “alternative facts.” But it’s all bullshit to me!

  2. Montana replaces a Trump pick with violent Trump wannabe. What the fuck is wrong with you people? This is why we can’t legalize it — thuggish Republicans keep electing thuggish Republicans!

    1. To name a few symptoms; Foxitis, delusions of grandeur stoked by phony invitations to affluence and the tragic hubris that somehow billionaires will share the spoils of public lands. All treatable with regular consumption of cannabis.

      1. Agreed… I have also tried explaining this via racism and ignorance, both of which must be true, but still don’t fully explain the bizzare nature of the Trump supporter.

        A reporter recently pointed out, “they don’t actually read the same news we do.” No, they read white supremacist propaganda and accept it as news.

        I’ve even found a scientific theory of sorts to explain it, called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

        Still leaves me amazed at the sheer stupidity of Republican voters.

        As another perceptive “liberal” journalist observed, “Trump couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie.”

        Why would anyone be loyal to Trump? It’s self-defeating. I have as many explanations as I might want, and it still seems incomprehensible.

      2. More like bubble vision. Everyone seems trapped in their own, even when some are filled with noxious lies on the inside and reflections of the meat in their own mouth from the outside. Once inside people would rather pretend they found a good bubble than step out into the world and admit they failed.
        As a wise old Indian once told me, “We can belong to big circles or little ones. Its just a choice.”

        Guess now the inly choice for independent journalism is to wear armor. Show up to the next GOP event in a knights full plate.

      3. No I think you are delusional.
        I’m 72, white male, republican and lifetime cannabis advocate residing in CA.

        This isn’t the time nor place to fabricate nor project your own political bias. Cannabis transcends all.

        Speaking of who is stupid in your political mind makes you worthless to our cannabis advocacy in America. There’s no liberal nor conservative cannabis advocate, there’s just us victims of stigma towards our herb.

      4. @ Rod,
        You’re a case in point. Thanks for stepping up and helping me make my case.

      5. Rod, being a cannabis advocate and Republican are contradictory. You live in a democratic state which push democratic policies which is why cannabis has been legalized in California.

      6. Rod,

        I feel compelled to jump in here. You’re a proud GOPer, but one who lives in a Dem-dominant state. And thanks to that fact, you now have legal pot.

        Perhaps, in staying true to yourself and your politics, you should consider moving to a GOP-friendly state, you know, like Utah or Kansas or Mississippi or Alabama–or, hell, anyplace south of the Mason-Dixon. Of course, your chances of having legalized recreational anytime soon . . .

  3. Education is the most important tool we have to wake up America to what is happening to our marijuana and health policy and specifically which politicians are on our side and which ones are using propaganda in defiance of science and fact to promote their predatory agendas:

    Montana is a dramatic example of what happens when otherwise intelligent Americans allow their clinical judgement to be impeded by glamorized violent entertainment and avarice baited with the false promise of wealth and stolen property. To a rational human being who has practised marijuana activism in state and federal legislatures through cutizen lobbying the vote in Montana is an example of voting against one’s own interests. Montana’s recent medical legalization expansion demonstrated that a majority of Montana wants legal mmj, but they voted in a prohibitionist anyway. Again.
    When Republican voters in Montana were asked what they thought about their candidates assault on the Guardian reporter, they were still echoing right wing media blaming the reporter as if he started the fight by simply asking about health care… health care that the same people who voted Republican are asking to have taken away from themselves. Ineven had a Trump voter tell me today “people are tired of reporters.” Really? Than what are those people you watch on Fox news? I agree, theyre not journalists, but then what are they?
    Its like watching a bunch of people on a train leaving a station where the bridge ahead is obviously taken out, but the passengers are too busy watching right wing violence on a tv monitor to stop the conductor. I wouldnt mind letting the idiots die without health care but their dragging us into the hole because the proceeds to these train tickets go to Big Pharma and private prisons.

  4. there is also a concerted effort by some to link marijuana usage to disturbed young men becoming terrorists mainly the ever contemptuous Peter Hitchens

  5. There is also a concerted effort by some to link marijuana usage to disturbed young men becoming terrorists, mainly perpetrated by the ever contemptuous Peter Hitchens.

  6. Now that I went on my Montana rant, I just want to give a special shout out to our Deputy Director Paul Armentano who has worked diligently to answer, debate, report, publish and counter every major piece of propaganda prohibitionists from Project SAM to Big Pharma have poisoned our society with. And to that Anerica owes you a great debt of gratitude. Thank you.
    In that spirit, I wish to draw attention to marijuana reformers and Trump supporters alike of the DEA’s recent lies to Congress in respects to marijuana’s medical efficacy and their ongoing violence on innocent civilians in Honduras:

    We may recall when years ago the DEA dressed as local Honduran police and raided villages, killing innocent civilians for cash on alleged “drug raids” including a pregnant woman who simply answered the door.

    But here the DEA lies under oath to Congress and the Departement of Justice claiming that a boat they shot down in Honduras recently was involved in drug trafficking. In fact, the boat was a water taxi carrying innocent civilians who were murdered in cold blood by US DEA agents.

    Meanwhile Texas has opened two new private prison facilities to house the increasing flood of immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, who are drug war refugees due to decades of made-to-fail US drug and foreign policy-for-private-profit.

    The Trump administration is reigning in activity on Asset forfeiture, drug enforcement and interdiction in order to micromanage and ramp up DEA efforts in his proposed budget even as it cuts medicaid to the very people who voted for him to protect it in order to fund these raids. What he cant get in his budget he’ll sneak through in unconstitutional executive orders.

    Would you still have voted for Trump over Hillary?

    1. How does your last sentence- “Would you still have voted for Trump over Hillary?”- relate to the DEA raids of villages in El Salvador?
      That happened in 2012 under the Obama and Hillary administration… so why bring Trump’s name into this?

      1. You didnt click on the link, Bill. Towards the middle-end of the independent news coverage from TYT is described a more recent DEA raid from last month involving the deaths of various innocent commuters on a water taxi.
        But to your point, the DEA killing innocent people and then slandering the families of the deceased by lying and saying these innocent victims were drug traffickers is nothing new. Nor is the DEA lying to Congress under oath anything new.

        What is new are executive orders from this President allocating funds to ramp up these raids.

        What is new is the AG our President appointed who is walking back the Cole memos, the very reason we even have state legalization of marijuana… something Hillary very doubtfully would have done, as she would have kissed every executive order Obama ever made in order to maintain the Berniecrats from fracturing the Democratic Party.

        What is different is Trump is branding his name on Drug War III. Hillary may have been in bed with Big Pharma too, but now the Orange-bloody cock has come home to roost, and there is no comparison with the worst we could have imagined from Hillary (probably a schedule II quasi-prohibition) …to what Trump is doing to us right now. (Auctioning our life and liberty to the highest bidder).

        Sessions endorsed Trump back in Feb ’16 during the campaign. Trump began his campaign blaming Mexicans on our made to fail drug policies. (Sound familiar Anslinger?) For any advocate of legalizing marijuana voting for Trump over Hillary was treasonous.

  7. Here’s one for you Paul;

    Science Goes to the Movies has Dr Yasmin Hurd back up the propaganda that “marijuana is dangerous to the developing mind.” When the host is shocked that marijuana is on schedule 1 along with heroin while marijuana is legalizing across the county, Dr. Hurd blames this on “the movies,” namely Cheech & Chong, Pinneaple Expressway and so on. Oddly, Dr. Hurd accepts that marijuana is used by “atrists for creativity, which I dont particularly have a problem with” but then goes back to her argument on the gateway theory that marijuana is detremental on developing minds because the “prefrontal cortex hasnt developed until our mid twenties.” Really? So by that logic we shouldnt be sending 18 year olds to war to die for our country or let 22 year olds graduate from college?
    I find the feigned ignorance of the host incredible when she acts convinced marijuana is not medicine simply due to its classification. FDA approval from Big Pharma$ money is revealed in this piece as Dr. Hurd struggles to explain how individual chemicals like CBD are medicinal even after she demonizes THC’s effects in young brains. Marijuana must be bad because the FDA cant patent the whole plant, right Dr Hurd? Its called “synergy.” Whole plant synergy. Or the “entourage effect,” as Dr Mechoulam would say. Big Pharma cant profit off of that, so they feed us individual molecules that cause side effects and more harm than good.
    She never cites any of her stats much less 25,000 peer reviewed studies over the medical efficacy of marijuana on Pub Med so this must be data she “Hurd” about. What a stooge.

    1. Interesting article; never heard of it before. Cannabinoid hyperemesis; Sounds like “nemesis.”
      I read this from Leafly:

      The article describes people who stopped consuming cannabis and the nausea and vomitting went away. Scalding hot showers relieve symptoms perhaps due to What we need are controlled studies showing a variety of strains, CBD, CBG and THC ratios and chemical testing of the marijuana these people are consuming. Until then, the jury is out as to what exactly is causing this rare condition. Thanks for sharing.

      Here is sn excerpt from a 2014 study:
      “The brain may react to changes in core body temperature due to the dose-dependent hypothermic effects of [THC]. Alternatively, the bathing behaviour may be a result of direct CB1 receptor activation in the hypothalamus by [THC] or another active compound and may not necessarily be a response to changes in core body temperature.”

      Here is the review:

    2. Until cannabis is fully legal, and research can proceed unimpeded by criminal statutes, the science will always be suspect.

      1. True, but “only a fool leans upon his own misunderstanding.” What I mean by that is just because we are under assault from fact denying predators doesn’t mean we stop participating in the scientific process. If people are suffering from a rare neurological disorder that is being blamed on the marijuana they consume, we NEED these people to find safe places where they can bring themselves and their weed to be chemically and neurologically tested.
        I started researching where we can take our weed to get chemically tested and its sad that Canada is way ahead of us in that regard:

        So crossing our weed to Canada for testing might not be a good idea.
        After further research I found this site:

        They look legit, but what is NORML (we) doing about this? As a consumer-advocacy non-for-profit and educational organization we should be all over this.

        In February NORML formed a multi-state-workplace-drug-testing-coalition:
        But here, the word “testing” is being delegated to workplace drug testing.

        Finally, just like I thought would happen after searching all over the web, I found this link on our very own webpage, just like I thought I would:

        Here’s our web link to 420 Food Safety:

        There’s a link to their whitepaper for their DLC certification of weed.

      2. Except, of course, one problem: This link is geared more for business certification of quality weed free of harmful chemicals for commercial consumption. SO we maay need to advocate that individuals who may wish to protect their privacy and believe they have a rare neurological disease and are looking to identify any trace chemicals in their weed be directed to the private link at …providing their prices aren’t too steep.
        Of course, the first thing one should do if they think they have hyperemesis or any rare neurological disorder is consult a physician, (one versed in cannabis and the endocannabinoid system preferably so we don’t get misdiagnosed) and try to stop smoking weed or anything to see if the symptoms improve. But while that happens, GET YOUR WEED TESTED. We NEED to determine the cause of this disorder and that means we need to know exactly what people with hyperemesis are consuming. This includes attention to the entire diet, chemical exposure to cleaning and building materials, parasites, toxicology, and any other drugs being consumed.
        I went ahead and contacted researchers at MAPS to look into cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. I believe this is serious enough that we need a protocol for patient research and safe, private, peer-reviewed and controlled marijuana quality chemical testing.

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