Saturday, August 30, 2014

Marijuana prohibitionists getting desperate

The Anti-Marijuana Lobby Is Enlisting Scientific Mercenaries
AUGUST 30, 2014

It’s an age-old play that has been used in several different industries over the past several decades, and now marijuana is the new target. One incredibly popular method for garnering support against a cause is to attack the science and facts supporting it, even if it is a virtual certainty that you’d be fighting a losing battle.

According to a new report from Vice, that’s precisely what’s happening to the cannabis industry, despite the fact that marijuana has only been legalized in two states for recreational use and a handful of others for medicinal purposes. It’s been well-known for a while that there are plenty of groups with vested interests in keeping marijuana illegal, including prison guard unions, law enforcement agents and officials, private prison companies, and more. But the group Vice focuses on is the painkiller industry.

One would think at first that pharmaceutical companies would be ecstatic about marijuana prohibition finally coming to an end, as it could possibly supply them with a relatively cheap and easy resource to study and apply to their products. But as with any entrenched special interest group, they instead see it as a threat to profits.

So instead of embracing the end of prohibition, many companies have decided to pay academics to develop research that instead leads to the conclusion that marijuana is a health hazard and should remain outlawed. Vice cites the claims of Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University, who has published work and has been quoted as saying that marijuana is a ‘gateway drug’, is addictive and will hurt society as a whole.

Of course, he’s also a paid consultant to several large pharmaceutical companies that manufacture painkillers, which could lose their appeal if marijuana is adopted en masse in coming years.

As with anything, marijuana does most likely pose some health risks. Smoking anything isn’t really good for your health, and there is plenty of research to be done focused on the long-term effects of cannabis use, particularly in younger people. But even with those concerns in mind, marijuana use is not even remotely close in terms of danger and damage to products like cigarettes, alcohol and yes, even prescription painkillers — all of which have been linked to thousands, if not millions of deaths per year.

Marijuana has still yet to kill anyone, although it could play a factor in things like auto accidents. But as far as overdoses? Zero.

The truth is that the ploy boy these painkiller manufacturers is tired and played out. We saw it from the cigarette companies during the 1960s and ’70s, claiming that cigarettes were harmless when they are one of the most dangerous products available. We’re seeing it today in the climate change debate, in which 98 percent of scientists have come to the conclusion that man-made climate change is a serious problem. Yet, there are still a handful of scientists (many of whom on the payroll of large, entrenched energy corporations) who feel otherwise.

Perhaps the most important question of all regarding these paid academics is relative to the worries they’re adopting in the first place. For those opposing marijuana legalization, the arguments are usually centered-around health concerns and public safety. Yet, we already have far more dangerous products available on the market, which actually do lead to increased instances of violence and crime and nobody has a problem with it.

So why would they have a problem with marijuana?

There’s always the chance that these people genuinely hold these concerns, but it has to be understood that the ties they hold to these companies compromises their opinion in many aspects, especially in the eyes of the public.

Take what the paid ‘experts’ are saying with a grain of salt. This is the same tactic we’ve seen the energy and cigarette industries use over the years, and until some concrete evidence surfaces that marijuana is indeed a public threat, there’s really no reason to think so.

After all, do we really want to keep putting people in jail to bolster the profits of pharmaceutical companies, private prison organizations, and prison guard unions?

Probably not.


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