When one compares the effects of marijuana to alcohol, there really is no competition. To begin with, alcohol is responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths in the United States each year and marijuana 0.
In addition, people can die from overdosing on alcohol but it’s nearly impossible with marijuana. Salon relays that while alcohol use damages peoples’ brains, marijuana use does not. Of course, we’re not saying smoking isn’t likely to eventually take a toll on one’s lungs, but toking the herb has been found to be far less detrimental to one’s bodily health than regularly consuming alcohol. It’s also pertinent to note that according to research, alcohol is by far the more addictive substance.
Sadly, the average individual in America has not been informed of these facts and still believes that marijuana is a “gateway” drug to harder substances down the road. This is mainly because the U.S. government has blatantly lied about cannabis – and its multitude of uses – for decades.
The widespread use of cannabis as a medicine can be traced back millennia, where early Chinese doctors used the herb as an anesthetic by reducing the plant powder and mixing it with wine for administration before surgery. In Egypt, the plant was utilized to treat a range of illnesses, including hemorrhoids. And in India, cannabis was commonly relied upon to treat a variety of ailments, including insomnia, headaches, GI disorders and pain.
Until the early 1900’s in the United States, it was still considered perfectly acceptable to grow and harvest cannabis. Things took a turn for the worse, however, when fear of the herb arose during the Great Depression and marijuana was banned in over 20 states.
Ignoring the fact that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper and that the cannabis plant can be used for a number of applications – not limited to industrial, clothes, and medicine – it is still a herb that, more often than not, is denounced by mainstream media.
Could this possibly be a result of the alcohol industry bribing officials to discredit and trash the herb? According to recently exposed information by WikiLeaks, that’s exactly the case.
Recently, a blogger for the cannabis industry website Marijuana.com dug through hundreds of leaked DNC emails for any reference to the misunderstood herb. What they found was in the May 24, 2016, edition of Huddle, which is a daily e-newsletter for Capitol Hill insiders produced by the Politico website.
Reportedly, the issue included a paid advertisement from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA). A portion follows:
“While neutral on the issue of legalization, WSWA believes states that legalize marijuana need to ensure appropriate and effective regulations are enacted to protect the public from the dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana… In the years since the state legalized medicinal use, Colorado law enforcement officials have documented a significant increase in traffic fatalities in which drivers tested positive for marijuana…
Congress should fully fund Section 4008 of the FAST Act (PL 114-94) in the FY 2017 Appropriations process to document the prevalence of marijuana-impaired driving, outline impairment standards and determine driving impairment detection methods.”
In addition to appearing on the WikiLeaks website, that particular bit of information can be found on InboxCart, a website that archives e-newsletters. However, because the WSWA statement does not appear with the text of that issue in the Huddle archive on Politico, it seems the advertisement and sponsorship credit seems to have only appeared in the version sent directly to the inboxes of Congress members and Beltway insiders.
According to HighTimes, the government will conduct a year-long investigation and then make recommendations, including for an “impairment standard” for driving under the influence of marijuana as required by The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which President Obama signed last December.
In a press release, the WSWA said the following about the legislation:
“There is currently no scientific consensus regarding the level at which marijuana consumption impairs a driver and no effective way to measure this impairment in the field. This is problematic for law enforcement who, in contrast, can quickly and effectively establish a scientifically and legally-supported measure of alcohol impairment.”
Many believe that the alcohol industry is aware that as recreational use of marijuana becomes legal and less taboo, more people are likely to opt for the herb rather than sacrifice their health and sanity of mind with spirits. This will lead to diminishing profits for beer, wine and liquor manufacturers and sellers.
In result, the industry is doing whatever it can to impede cannabis legalization, something Morgan Fox, the communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, says it should be wary of doing. Fox says:
“No one should be driving while impaired by marijuana, and we should certainly be doing more research into all aspects of the substance, including its impact on driving. However, given that driving under the influence of marijuana is already illegal and that the existing research shows marijuana’s effect on driving ability is significantly less than alcohol, it is difficult to see a legitimate reason for the alcohol industry to be taking up this issue. They would do better to fund research on how to decrease drunk driving.”
Without question, the destruction of roads and highways in the U.S. is a critical issue, but the topic of “marijuana-impaired driving” is vastly misunderstood. For example, Colorado has witnessed an increase in fatalities since the herb was legalized in 2012, but the increase in deaths is consistent with the national trend and is more than likely related to low oil prices (and the influx of migrants to the state).
And, the WSWA failed to mention that in 2011, a study found a reduction in traffic fatalities in states that had legalized medical marijuana.