The Blame Game
by Bridget Hennessey, Vice President, Public Affairs at Weedmaps
It’s been two weeks since the horrible events at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. But the pain hasn’t subsided. It is almost impossible to think about anything but the young students and teachers senselessly murdered and injured by an 18-year old gunman.
On Tuesday, FOX News host Laura Ingraham announced the real culprit: Cannabis.
To ensure everyone got word, Ms. Ingraham (or in this case, Miss Information) took to social media and tweeted segments from her broadcast. By Wednesday she was “trending” — meaning her tweets were read or mentioned more than others at the time.
We’ve seen this before. Cannabis has been used to demonize Mexican immigrants, jazz music and swing dancing. It has been blamed for interracial dating (when that was against the law) and American involvement in foreign wars.
Ingraham is a particularly enthusiastic disciple of the “blame cannabis” dogma, as it seems to boost her factless credit score. As she did on Tuesday, she often touts passages from her bad cannabis bible: Alex Berenson’s widely discredited book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana. Berenson is also a regular guest on her show as well as her co-conspirator advancing the idea that cannabis caused Covid-19. In Tuesday’s segment, Miss Information also went after Beto O’Rourke, threats to the second amendment, the war on young white men, clueless medical professionals and “parents doing the pot with their kids.”
But her most vile theme–implied or otherwise–was that cannabis was a factor in the massacre of nineteen young children and their two teachers.
I’m not going to debate Miss Information about the causes of gun violence in the United States because there is nothing to debate. And offending the cannabis industry by playing the blame game is the least of her problems. It is an affront to our humanity to blame cannabis–or any other ridiculous excuse–for what caused the death of children and the adults dedicated to teaching them. I say this as the mother of school age children, a wife, sister, daughter, friend, colleague and citizen of the world. So what I simply want to do here is provide the facts about the cannabis-related statements made during Ingraham’s broadcast.
There is no evidence that cannabis causes psychosis. THC–the psychoactive compound in cannabis–affects individuals differently. Medical patients and military veterans in 37 states across the country rely on cannabis to treat a number of serious health conditions. And millions of responsible adult consumers in nineteen states use cannabis for a wide variety of wellness purposes.
Cannabis products currently on the market are not significantly more potent than “Woodstock Weed.” The modest rise in THC levels of products today can likely be attributed to increased demand for higher THC cannabis, as well as cultivation and manufacturing improvements.
After legalization, hospitalizations actually decreased in Colorado (where Ingraham’s guest stated colleagues are “sounding the alarms… it’s practically a daily occurrence that kids come into emergency rooms from cannabis-induced psychosis”). Youth usage has actually decreased in Colorado too. The State issued a report stating as such.
The sky doesn’t fall when a dispensary opens. To the contrary, crime actually goes down and property values go up. And claims made by both Ingraham and her guest regarding traffic fatalities were unsubstantiated. Several studies show that impaired driving rates are unaffected after legalization, and in some cases may even decrease in states with legal cannabis.
Trend that, Laura Ingraham.
Bridget Hennessey is a Vice President at Weedmaps, the leading technology provider to the cannabis industry. She heads the company’s Public Affairs Department.