Whether you call them scare tactics or outright lies, don’t fall for these fake marijuana news items.
When the cult classic propaganda film “Reefer Madness” was released in 1936, it was intended to alert parents to the supposed dangers of marijuana use. If teens used the drug, the film warned, they would be in danger of hitting someone with their car, being raped, killing someone, committing suicide, or, at the very least, descending into insanity.
But while audiences have laughed off the film’s hilarious absurdism in the decades since its release, bogus scare tactics remain at the forefront of the anti-marijuana movement.
Yes, there is such a thing as fake marijuana news. And here are three popular whoppers.
Halloween pot candy
Have you ever heard anti-legalization folks warn that boogeymen would take advantage of lax legalization laws to give trick-or-treaters pot-laced candy without their knowledge?
Well, as far as anyone can tell, it’s never happened.
The concern centers around edibles. The effects of marijuana in, say, gummy bears can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to kick in. If an unsuspecting kid were to chow down on a bunch of pot-packed gummy bears, he or she could conceivably be harmed. For example, as Vox points out, there was the case of a college student who hallucinated and jumped to his death from a hotel balcony in 2014 after eating six times the recommended amount of pot cookie.
While that was a terrible incident, there have been zero reported cases of any kids accidentally ingesting edibles out of their Halloween stash, let alone OD’ing on them. (Think about it: Who’s gonna pay good money for edibles only to give them away like that? But we digress…)
There have also been rumors of pot being found laced with fentanyl, and Tennessee offers a good example of this hysteria.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be deadly if ingested in even small doses, and despite a retired DEA agent telling local media that there have been incidents of marijuana laced with fentanyl, reporters, when following up on those claims, could not find any cases.
While the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has found fentanyl in a sample of cocaine, according to NBC affiliate WBIR, no forensic scientists in any of the TBI’s state testing labs have found any cannabis laced with the drug. No Drug Enforcement Agency labs have found it nationwide, either.
Is it possible to lace pot with fentanyl? Yes. Is there any evidence that it’s happening? No.
Marijuana as bad as opiates
You might have also heard folks like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) predict that expanded medical marijuana laws could cause abuse among pot users rivaling the nation’s opioid epidemic.
Once again, this is fake marijuana news.
“There is a lack of sophisticated outcome data on dose, potency and abuse potential for marijuana,” Christie wrote in a letter to President Trump. “This mirrors the lack of data in the 1990’s and early 2000’s when opioid prescribing multiplied across health care settings and led to the current epidemic of abuse, misuse and addiction.”
Christie’s impassioned plea to look at the data curiously overlooks a growing body of research that shows that, instead of mimicking opioid addiction, medical marijuana is actually associated with reduced opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
If you have any concerns about the safety of consuming medical or recreational marijuana, do your homework. Avoid buying off the street, and consider purchasing your cannabis from a reputable and safe dispensary or retailer.
Your local legal marijuana dealer is a great source of information, as is this blog. Check back often for more helpful information and advice.