Eighty years ago, William Randolph Hearst and Harry Anslinger played on racial fears and sexual politics to get cannabis outlawed, weaving stories of “crazed colored folks raping white women!”. Nearly a century later, anti-cannabis activists are resurrecting these tired tropes in an attempt to prevent the return of common sense in drug laws in our country. Take, for instance, this recent post by Florida based “No On 2”:
Marijuana as a date rape drug? Given that it’s the most commonly used illicit drug in the US, one might expect there would be countless tales of depraved debauchery, where weed bearing fiends rendered their victims powerless with the liberal application of marijuana.
The reality? There aren’t ANY. The only Google results for marijuana and date rape refer to the campaign itself.
This isn’t any surprise; anti-cannabis activists have long relied on hyperbole, strained “what if” scenarios, and blatant untruths. Given the lack of credible data to support any negative effects of cannabis legalization, this is no surprise. Doug MacKinnon, a Tampa new columnist, is a perfect example of this. In a desperate screed against weed, he laments that people might be trying to make money on this burgeoning industry, as though that’s something that conservatives are against. But, not satisfied with a surprisingly altruistic stance on the business of cannabis, he goes on to make some scaaaary predictions:
“If Colorado is any example — and it serves as the poster child for all that can go wrong — a flourishing black market is sure to follow the passage of Amendment 2. The taxes imposed on legal medical marijuana create all kinds of openings for home-growers and others who will work overtime to illegally beat the system and deliver a cheaper product.”
Oh no! If we legalize weed in Florida, we might end up like Colorado! And we all know how they turned out…waaaaaaaait a minute. What’s this? Colorado has experienced:
- An overall 10% drop in crime.
- A 50% reduction in homicides.
- A drop in teen usage of cannabis due to the providers being regulated.
- An expected $30 Million in new tax revenue by the end of the year.
In fact, after six months into full legalization in Colorado, the results were remarkably positive, and with a surprising side effect: it seems that fewer people overall are smoking in a state with full access:
“Another surprising finding is that marijuana use during this period was less common in Colorado than in the country as a whole. Based on NSDUH data from 2010 and 2011, 12 percent of Coloradans 21 or older were past-year users, compared to a national figure of 16 percent. But among those past-year users, daily use was more common in Colorado: 23 percent of them reported consuming marijuana 26 to 31 times a month, compared to a national rate of 17 percent. It’s not clear to what extent Colorado’s medical marijuana system is responsible for this difference in patterns of use.
More-recent NSDUH numbers for Colorado are not available yet. But Light and his colleagues, in estimating total marijuana consumption for 2014, assume that prevalence rates remain about the same this year, despite broader legalization. “We do not include an additional prevalence increase factor,” they explain, “because the NSDUH user population for Colorado was flat between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.” That assumption may prove to be mistaken, and in any case prevalence may rise as the recreational market develops and prices fall. But so far it looks like Hickenlooper is right: Legalization has not resulted in a lot of new pot smokers.”
Forbes goes on to note that “the price of peace [in the drug war] looks like a bargain“.
We’ve only just started to see how desperately the entrenched prohibitionists will fight. Given their need to maintain minimum occupancy in privatized state prisons, it’s all too clear that they have a large profit line to fight for. Let’s hope that Florida voters in November see through their bullshit, and recognize the human costs of these insane laws.
Finally, if you’re active on Facebook, follow and share the facts from United for Care, the organization directly responsible for this Amendment:
Are you involved in the fight to pass Amendment 2? Share your organizational links and other resources in the comments!