In yet another in a series of CNN interviews where prohibitionists are allowed to spread their lies, while advocates are given no time to speak; Mason Tvert squared up against Carla Lowe of CALM (Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana.) Lowe spits her rhetoric and paints a picture of a mass distopia in a post legalization USA. Watch the video below, and then I’ve placed a few notes about her major talking points; Seriously Ms Lowe, do you really think we’re that stupid?
Pot-heads, Pot-heads, Pot-heads
The first thing you’ll notice is the incessant use of a derogatory and inflammatory moniker for those who use cannabis. Lowe uses the word “pot-head” in every possible instance, in an attempt to play on the public’s fear of a Hollywood created stereotype, filling the viewers mind with images of a nation of Cheech and Chong, Jeff Spicoli, and Bill and Teds. She fails to mention that her “pot-heads” classification also includes the likes of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney…. the list goes on and on. Hardly the image of a cannabis consumer that Lowe would have portrayed, these are all highly successful individuals that make her seem foolish, so she reverts to brandishing her derogatory term much like a 19th century plantation owner would espouse the “N”-word.
More pot-heads driving school buses
In Lowe’s world cannabis legalization would lead to a rash of marijuana consumers suddenly having the desire to drive school buses; that coupled, of course, with the elimination of societal standards where folks entrusted with the operation of heavy machinery are tested and demanded to be clean and sober. This is just absurd.
More pot-heads on the roads
For some reason Lowe thinks that cannabis consumers would flock to our roadways while impaired, her mistake here is the assumption that marijuana effects ones ability to rationally think before acting, like consumption of alcohol. Simply stated while those who drink are more likely to jump in a vehicle to “hit the next spot”, those under the influence of marijuana are more likely to stay put, but even if they don’t studies have been released showing that cannabis consumption fosters safer driving. Add to this the 9% drop in traffic fatalities in medical marijuana states, and her claim become patently ludicrous.
“What law enforcement agencies and insurers do not understand is that driving while high is actually a safe activity,” CEO James Shaffer of 4AutoinsuranceQuote.com said. “I guess the key to safer driving is to use marijuana, but to do it under wraps.”
“Marijuana users often say that when they are high, they feel like they are driving 60 miles per hour but actually are only going 30 miles per hour,” Shaffer said. “When somebody is drunk driving, on the other hand, they often feel like they are driving 30 miles per hour but they are actually driving 80 miles per hour. This is what makes alcohol dangerous behind the wheel, and marijuana safe.”
10 to 1 social costs of using marijuana
What exactly is she talking about? Less alcohol fueled violence and abuse due to choosing cannabis over liquor as marijuana is inversely associated with aggression and injury? A less stressed society that utilizes what has been called “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man” by DEA Judge Francis Young? Lowe’s intent here is clear, by brandying an irrational number, she intends to instill fear in the viewer, while never explaining what these supposed costs are.
Alcohol is toxic to healthy cells and organs, a side effect that results directly in about 35,000 deaths in the United States annually from illnesses such as cirrhosis of the liver, ulcers, cancer and heart disease. Heavy alcohol consumption can depress the central nervous system — inducing unconsciousness, coma and death — and is strongly associated with increased risks of injury. According to US Centers for Disease Control, alcohol plays a role in about 41,000 fatal accidents a year and in the commission of about 1 million violent crimes annually. Worldwide, the statistics are even grimmer. Stated a February 2011 World Health Organization report, alcohol consumption causes a staggering 4 percent of all deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence.
According to a review in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, “A direct comparison of alcohol and cannabis showed that alcohol was considered to be more than twice as harmful as cannabis to users, and five times more harmful as cannabis to others (society). … As there are few areas of harm that each drug can produce where cannabis scores are more [dangerous to health] than alcohol, we suggest that even if there were no legal impediment to cannabis use, it would be unlikely to be more harmful than alcohol.”
“In terms of (health-related) costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user.” according to a 2009 white paper by the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse.
How could today’s prohibition cost less to society when according to the FBI one person every 42 seconds is jailed for marijuana? The incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Americans for possession of cannabis has led to our nation (5% of the world’s population) having the highest rate worldwide of inprisonment (25% of the worlds prisoners.)
Clearly the social costs of prohibition out-weigh the “benefits” by 10 to 1 and Lowe has her head placed firmly where the sun don’t shine on this point.
Lowe’s claim that her effort to educate the citizens of California on the “reality” of cannabis is the reason that Prop 19 failed is patently false. Hardly a failure, losing public approval by 3.6 percentage points, Prop 19′s demise can be more attributed to a poorly written proposal, a failure to organize on properly the grassroots level, and the push being a matter of “too-little too-late.”
“The big problem in any campaign is getting the troops out,” says attorney Bruce Margolin, L.A. director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and the subject of L.A. Weekly cover story “Proposition 19 Dreams of Legal Weed.” “It takes money and time. There wasn’t much here in this particular campaign.”
A number of well-organized forces for cannabis decriminalization appeared to stay on the sidelines until late in the game. Many didn’t want a legalization measure on the ballot during the midterm election, preferring to put the question before voters during the big dance in 2012, when presidential politics ramps up interest and shakes out cash. Just one week before the November 2 election, the first significant contributions other than those by Richard Lee, the Oakland medical marijuana–dispensary entrepreneur who launched Proposition 19 were made; Billionaire George Soros made a last-minute, $1 million bet on the measure and suddenly the campaign could buy a front-page, wraparound, full-color ad in the Los Angeles Times.
Concidering the regained popularity of the legalization movement, now to be spearheaded by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome, Lowe’s claim that she and her prohibitionist group had defeated Prop 19 is non-sense, and her influence in the future is also suspect.
More kids using, kid usage has risen dramatically since medical marijuana
Here we go with the prohibitionists #1 straw-man argument “what about the children?” Marijuana usage might have shifted upwards among teens over the last decade, but is prohibition helping this problem? While I certainly don’t condone the use of cannabis or any other substances by children, it is completely ludicrous to believe that keeping the substance illegal will ever stop kids from using.
Marijuana is the most readily available substance to our kids precisely because it is not regulated, and available to only adult consumers. It is much easier for your children to get their hands on pot than it is for them to buy liquor or beer because alcohol is regulated and un-availible to those under 21. The whole idea of drinking age and smoking age for tobacco is to keep these substances out of the hands of our children. I’ve got some news for Lowe..Drug dealers don’t card. In fact they don’t care who they sell to, they just want to move product and make their money.
Do kids still get their hands on alcohol? Yes, but at a much lower rate than before age limits were in place. In fact the drinking age has been increased over time to counteract the effect of older kids (18/19) purchasing for younger teens. While an 18 year old might buy beer for fourteen and sixteen year olds to drink, a 21 year old won’t. Regulation of marijuana would work the same way, and there is no reason to believe otherwise. While it remains a black-market commodity cannabis’ availibility to our youngsters will remain intact.
1/3 kids dropping out of high-school
This is a case of correlation not equaling causation, and in her state the figure she quotes is not accurate. If this is such a concern for Lowe, then certainly she should support legalizing and regulating marijuana to get it out of childrens’ hands.
No employer is hiring a pot-head
Is this worth even responding to? The only reason that employers have to not hire a cannabis consumer is the propaganda that Lowe and her ilk have fed them, and the creation of a drug-screening industry that is designed specifically to victimize those who have made the safer choice of cannabis over alcohol. The only substance that these drug-testers are looking for is marijuana, as it’s the only one that stays in your system in a testable form for any length of time. Cocaine, alcohol, meth etc. abusers test clean with just a day or so of non-use, while smoking a joint on the 4th of July might be reason for you not to be hired on August 1st. Certainly on just a health basis, she can’t possibly think that abusers of any of these other substances would be good hires; yet they will all pass their test just by laying off for a day or two.
Seriously though, nobody is hiring cannabis users? Pray tell then where the estimated 19 million (this is a number based on those who admit use, the actual number is undoubtedly higher) cannabis consumers in the United States get their money for weed? Drug dealers don’t take food stamps, so you can forget that one. The answer is they are hard working Americans with gainful employment; they are all around you Carla, and you don’t even know who they are.
Marijuana is 20-30 times stronger
Ah, this old gem! While there might be more of the stronger cannabis available in today’s market, it is ridiculous to think that the plant has somehow gotten stronger over the years, never heard of Maui Wowie? The difference in today’s weed is that it is grown under optimal conditions, the male plants are eliminated, and the crops are tended to and cared for a lot more attentively. In the past the marijuana that was available in the U.S. was primarily grown in other countries, by cartels etc. that are more driven by getting the product to market, rather than producing a quality product. This cartel weed is still the same to this day, loaded with seeds, at about 6% THC, and still available. The main difference between the two is how much the consumer smokes. While in the 70′s one might smoke a joint (12 or so hits) today, when quality marijuana is available the average consumer will smoke just 1 or 2 tokes.
An apt comparison can be made with liquor and beer. Lowe can’t think that beer drinkers who only had burbon available would chug 12oz. of the 40% ABV liquor in the same way they would a 3% ABV beer.
Consider “Iron Law of Prohibition” by Richard Cowan. That law states that the more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes. When drugs or alcoholic beverages are prohibited, they will become more potent, will have greater variability in potency, will be adulterated with unknown or dangerous substances, and will not be produced and consumed under normal market constraints.The Iron Law undermines the prohibitionist case and reduces or outweighs the benefits ascribed to a decrease in consumption.
Statistics indicate that for a long time Americans spent a falling share of income on alcoholic beverages. They also purchased higher quality brands and weaker types of alcoholic beverages. Before Prohibition, Americans spent roughly equal amounts on beer and spirits. However, during Prohibition virtually all production, and therefore consumption, was of distilled spirits and fortified wines. Beer became relatively more expensive because of its bulk, and it might have disappeared altogether except for homemade beer
Available cannabis is stronger? Maybe. It gets consumed in the same amounts? Not likely. It’s could be toxic if you do? Not at all.
It’s fat soluble, stays in brain and sex organs
What exactly does this mean? Could it be that your body stores the cannabinoids in your fat cells for good reason? Like they’re supposed to be there. The human body is full of CB1 and CB2 receptors, that cannabinoids such as THC fit perfectly in to. Among other things these receptors help maintain your immune system, control appetite and mitigate pain.
Recent studies have shown cannabinoids to be an effective atypical anti-psychotic in treating schizophrenia, , inhibit tumor growth, produced a significant reduction in symptoms of Tourettes, control seisures, migraines, glaucoma, MS, ADD and ADHD, IBS and Chron’s, Alzheimers and PMS.
The next time someone tries to tell you that medical marijuana is bunk and that all those potheads should be locked up, point them to US Patent #6630507: Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants (filed April 1998). So to Ms Lowe I say, yup it stays there, because your body has a good reason to keep it around.
Alcohol use rose 3x after prohibition
Immediately after the 18th Amendment went into effect there was a dramatic decrease in alcohol consumption that made many advocates hopeful that it would be a success. In the early 20’s the consumption rate was 30% lower than it was before prohibition but later in the decade, as illegal supplies increased and a new generation began to ignore the law and reject the attitude of self-sacrifice, more Americans once again decided to indulge. In a sense, prohibition was a success if only for the fact that it took years after repeal before consumption rates reached those of pre-prohibition.
Drug Cartels are behind legalization
This is a display of Lowe’s absolute incompetence to speak on the subject. What a brilliant business model this would be, to put yourself out of business by making it possible for American citizens to control, and produce their own cannabis market and supply effectively leaving yourself obsolete. The idea that the drug cartels in South America want to turn over the business to citizens of the United States is ludicrous, and another propaganda scare tactic from a woman on the losing side of history.