Marijuana Myths

There are a tremendous amount of myths and misconceptions surrounding the cannabis plant. This is because most adults in the U.S. are not regular marijuana users. Many have never used it, and if they did, it was many years ago. Most of these people will believe whatever they hear or see about marijuana in TV shows and movies.

A couple of decades ago, myths were almost impossible to overcome, and it was only possible if the mainstream media bothered to do any reporting on the myths surrounding a subject. But now we have the Internet to connect billions of people worldwide in a network of instant communication and mass information sharing, totally bypassing the old mainstream media.

And often the Internet forces the old guard to update their thinking.

Myths about marijuanaRecently Doug Fine, author of the book Too High To Fail, wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post  which was posted on their website on Friday. In it he discusses 5 myths about marijuana, including use going up under legalization and big tobacco and big alcohol swooping in and taking over a legal marijuana industry.

On the subject of use, Mr. Fine writes, “When I spoke at a California high school recently and asked, “Who thinks cannabis is easier to obtain than alcohol?,” nearly every hand shot up.

“In Portugal, by contrast, youth rates fell from 2002 to 2006, after all drugs were legalized there in 2001. Similarly, a 2011 Brown University-led study of middle and high school students in Rhode Island found no increases in adolescent use after the state legalized medical marijuana in 2006.

“As for adult use, the numbers are mixed. A 2011 University of California at Berkeley study, for example, showed a slight increase in adult use with de facto legalization in the Netherlands (though the rate was still lower than in the United States). Yet that study and one in 2009 found Dutch rates to be slightly lower than the European average. When the United States’ 40-year-long war on marijuana ends, the country is not going to turn into a Cheech and Chong movie. It is, however, going to see the transfer of as much as 50 percent of cartel profits to the taxable economy.”

The myths surrounding marijuana and what will happen under legalization are being debated because of the Internet. The momentum the legalization movement now enjoys has come in large part from the tools of the Internet. Without the ability to share information on a large scale, there would be no hope of legalizing marijuana in our lifetimes. Such is the stigma that surrounds the plant; the stigma that needs to be torn down.

– Joe Klare

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