The New York Times, a paper that has many times printed articles endorsing the prohibition of cannabis and editorializing in favor of continuing this prohibition has thrown in the towel. Sunday July 27 2014 saw the end of that position. The Editorial Board of the Times ran an editorial calling for the end of cannabis prohibition. The Times joins several conservative publications such as The National Review in this position.
The Times rightly considered the evidence and decided prohibition is a failure and the time has come for full legalization on the Federal level. Public opinion has moved on this issue over the last twenty years and at this time the majority of Americans favor, not just medical cannabis, but full legalization for the industrial, medical and recreational use of marijuana.
The Office of Drug Control Policy, (ONDCP), responded of course. Their response was what you would expect, vague assertions of negative outcomes when using cannabis for any reason. Interestingly, as public knowledge of cannabis and its many uses become common, the ONDCP has become more selective in it’s predictions of doom and gloom. They cited 4 talking points as the reasons for continuing the total prohibition of cannabis.
1. Marijuana affects the developing brain. This one started in 2009 when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister of England. He wanted to raise the penalties for cannabis claiming marijuana caused mental illness and schizophrenia. He was trying to gin up votes from the Conservatives. His Chief Medical Advisor quit over it. Since then, with no evidence to support it, this notion has devolved to, ‘Cannabis causes schizophrenia in teens’, and from that to, ‘cognitive impairment in the developing brain’. None of this has any solid evidence to support it.
2. Marijuana has a detrimental effect on academic achievement. Students who get d’s and f’s are more likely to be cannabis users. Ok. Let’s just say that having low grades are also more likely to come from teenagers living in dysfunctional circumstances. Which came first, dysfunctional families or cannabis use? Most likely the dysfunctional family.
These first two points are moot anyway because cannabis will still remain illegal for persons under 21.
3. Marijuana is addictive. Yes cannabis is somewhat addictive in the same way ice cream or Twinkies or television can be addictive and we haven’t made them illegal to save the citizens from them.
4. Drugged driving is a threat to our roadways. This one’s easy to debunk. Like the schizophrenia claim, one has only to ask, “Where are the bodies?” Just as there no numbers supporting the schizophrenia claim there is no increase in traffic accidents to support this claim either. Seventeen years of Californians accessing cannabis and no numbers showing any increase in accidents. Reliable studies show cannabis users get into accidents at the same rate as straight drivers.
There you have it! Seventy seven years of propaganda and the suppression of personal freedom and it all comes down to 4 talking points debunked easier than debunking a claim that water is not wet! The prohibition of cannabis has been as dismal a failure as the 13 year prohibition of alcohol was. We have destroyed millions of lives and wasted billions in treasure and for what? Can we just stop it now?