The news is currently flowing about a recent statement made by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. You’ve heard it elsewhere before reading it here, no doubt. I’m talking, of course, about this little chestnut: “Marijuana is only slightly less awful than heroin.” I’m not writing this blog to get into right vs left politics. (Frankly I think both sides could use an overhaul.) I’m here to bestow information. And to claim that cannabis is nearly as awful as heroin, is a lie. I would consider that statement fear mongering. So in this very special edition of Cannabis Myths: Fact or Fiction, I will be giving my perspective on this completely preposterous claim.
Cannabis Heroin Comparable? That’s Preposterous
So let’s break the quote down and just offer counter points to showcase the lunacy in making a cannabis heroin connection.
“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable.”
The medicinal benefits of cannabis are undeniable. In fact, the very government employing Sessions filed a patent on cannabinoids for it’s antioxidant and neuroprotectant capabilities way back in 1999. It passed in 2003. How are lives at stake? Cannabis brings a surplus of medicinal benefits that enrich peoples lives. The lives at stake here are the millions who would suffer if the government were to reintroduce archaic anti-cannabis laws that deny proven science. The medicinal and economical benefits are astounding, and the potential for growth in both fields is inspiring.
“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store.”
No one is suggesting cannabis stores should spring up in an abundance rivaling Dunkin Donuts in New England. But moving the sales off of the streets into well kept store fronts has it’s own share of benefits. It bolsters the economy with revenue and brings job opportunities to communities. It puts the sale of the product into the hands of professionals. The product is thus better (no pesticides, professional growers too – hey look, more jobs!) and the medicinal benefits are increased as a result. And the sale is regulated. Cannabis should be used responsibly and in moderation. What better way to ensure kids aren’t developing habits than requiring a valid form of identification to purchase it? I’m not even going to get into cannabis related arrests and imprisonment.
“And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
Cannabis is not “slightly less awful” than heroin. They are not even comparable. The cannabis heroin connection is shaky at best. You cannot overdose on cannabis, making it less dangerous than Tylenol. Cannabis has pain killing effects, which makes it a viable alternative. While opiates have their pain killing properties as well, the potential side-effects and danger upon regular use is horrifying in contrast to the comparatively harmless cannabis. Cannabis is a much safer alternative to opiates.
This isn’t about politics – it’s about science. And the facts indicate a cannabis heroin connection is preposterous. We’ve taken three steps forward with cannabis legalization, 2016 was a big year. It would be foolish and ignorant to take 4 steps back.