Sunday, April 20, 2014

Colorado and national media hype two "marijuana" deaths

Focus on two deaths in the Denver in the past few weeks is verging on the kind of hysteria about marijuana that existed a century ago.

There is a market for such stories with the attention being focused on 4/20, a sort of national marijuana celebration day. Anything to sell website viewers.

In Denver marijuana advocates plan to meet at the Civic Center, a rally that is likely to draw thousands. Organizers have urged supporters not to flout the state’s legalization of pot by smoking it right in front of cops.

Police have said they will have a large presence at the event but will use discretion in enforcing the federal law banning the drug.

It might be that for those who couldn’t see the Rockies from downtown it wasn't because of the legendary Mile High City smog. Tens of thousands gathered at several 4/20 festivals near the downtown area.

Denver’s KMGH TV estimated that a third of those at the rallies were from out of state, based on a random survey. A woman who said she was from St. Louis boasted that she had been at Woodstock.

The Colorado law legalizing pot says it must be consumed in private. It is a conflict that remains unresolved with President Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, saying enforcing the prohibition will not be a priority.

The reporting suggests that a young man who ate an entire marijuana cookie, far higher than the recommended dosage, jumped to his death from a balcony.

In the other case, a man who shot his wife to death while she was calling 911 for help was reported to have eaten marijuana candy, another edible.

“If all of this hysterical talk over the past week about marijuana being a contributing factor in the deaths of two people in Denver seemed familiar to you, dear cannabis historian, it's because it should be. This isn't the first time Colorado news outlets have latched onto the myth that cannabis causes violence,” reported the Denver alternative weekly Westword.

It reported that in 1910 opponents of marijuana had sought to convince the public that cannabis was the source of the word “assassin” and brought on great violence.

 “According to legend, hash-stoned mercenaries carried out murders for their blood-thirsty ruler in exchange for more ganja.”

This claim is being rejected across the nation. Twenty states have legalized medical marijuana or are about to and a few are considering legalizing medical marijuana.

Heart-warming stories about medical marijuana, largely made up of CBD, helps children with epilepsy are fueling the advances. THC is the ingredient in marijuana is what produces highs.

This information is only now becoming widely known because very little research was being done on marijuana because of the federal ban. Even hemp was made illegal because of its association with marijuana. That prohibition also is crumbling. Costco now sells hemp seeds.

To answer an obvious question: No, the number of deaths involving alcohol during the same period as the "marijuana" deaths is not known. It hasn’t been reported. Nor have the number of people jailed for being drunk or who showed up in emergency rooms because they suffered alcohol poisoning.

The bottom line is the state is making millions each month from the sale of recreational and medicinal marijuana. Giving up revenue is anathema to politicians.

Polls show support for marijuana legalization in Colorado remain high. A recent poll showed 51 percent of the state's residents have tried marijuana. And tourists are coming to Colorado to get high, and not only in the state's ski areas.

Last year Colorado and Washington state became the first two states in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana has been around for a decade, starting in California.


USA Today

Denver Post

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