From time to time our office receives messages from supporters of marijuana legalization. Some of the messages are incredibly vulgar; others are just plain weird.
Here are five of the weirdest claims marijuana proponents have made to try to convince us marijuana is harmless.
Weird Claim #1: Marijuana Was Used to Heal People in the Bible
In essence some marijuana proponents claim cannabis was one of the ingredients used to make holy anointing oil in biblical times, and that this marijuana oil was used to anoint or heal the sick.
To put it lightly, scholars generally dispute this claim. Exodus 30:22-25 says holy anointing oil was made from myrrh, cinnamon, olive oil, cassia, and sweet calamus, which is a type of cane or reed. People who say cannabis oil was used to anoint the sick likely are playing loosely with how scripture is translated.
Weird Claim #2: God Ordered People to Use Marijuana in Genesis
There’s a lot wrong with this claim. In essence, this is a misinterpretation of Genesis 1:12 & 29, which says,”And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. . . . And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
Some marijuana proponents tell us these two verses in Genesis command people to use marijuana, because marijuana is an “herb bearing seed.” If that’s the case, then it would stand to reason these verses also command people to use poison hemlock–after all, it is an herb. By and large, however, no one tries to argue we have a biblical mandate to consume poison hemlock.
Genesis 1:12 & 29 have to be read in their proper context within the Creation Story and scripture as a whole. We simply cannot read these two verses as an order to consume any or every plant on earth–especially toxic plants.
Weird Claim #3: The U.S. Patent Office Says Marijuana Cures AIDS or Other Diseases
This claim is based on the fact there are patents on file with the U.S. Patent Office pertaining to cannabis-use to treat certain diseases or conditions.
However, just because something is patented doesn’t mean it works or has been tested.
For example, here’s a patent for an interstellar spaceship. The patent doesn’t mean an interstellar spaceship has been built or that interstellar space travel is even possible. It simply means someone got a patent for the concept. Marijuana patents really don’t mean much.
Weird Claim #4: The Founding Fathers Used Marijuana
From time to time marijuana proponents forward us spurious quotes from men like Thomas Jefferson supposedly showing the Founding Fathers enjoyed smoking marijuana.
The bottom line is, as we have written before, after reviewing original sources at the Library of Congress and elsewhere, there simply is no evidence to show America’s founders used marijuana.
Weird Claim #5: Marijuana Has Never Killed Anyone
This is by far the most serious claim marijuana proponents keep making. We have been told time and time again that marijuana is harmless, natural, and has never killed anyone. Unfortunately, this statement simply is not true.
Marijuana has caused and contributed to an increasing number of deaths. As states move to decriminalize or legalize marijuana, we are seeing more cases of drugged driving and THC overdose.
For example, according to well-publicized FOIA responses, from 1997 to 2005 the FDA recorded 279 marijuana-related deaths–long before Colorado voters decided to legalize the drug. When we have cited these statistics in the past, marijuana supporters tried to evade by arguing that marijuana hasn’t caused as many deaths as other drugs. However, there is a world of difference between claiming marijuana has never killed a single person and claiming marijuana has not killed very many people.
Here are just a few examples of people harmed or killed by marijuana in recent years:
- July, 2016: A 5-year-old Oregon girl was hospitalized after eating candy laced with marijuana. According to officials, the girl experienced hallucinations and an elevated heart rate. Local police issued a press release, saying, “As many of these edibles come in the form of cookies, brownies, and candy, children are naturally drawn to them. However the small size of children, and the usually higher/concentrated THC levels found in the edibles can easily lead to overdoses by children and adults.”
- July, 2016: A Massachusetts teen called 911 after his friend began reacting negatively to marijuana-laced candy. Authorities say the pair had eaten marijuana-laced candy that appeared to have come from a medical-marijuana supplier. The two teens reportedly were sent to the hospital.
- July, 2016: Police in Arizona arrested a mother for allegedly giving her 11- and 12-year-old children gummy candy infused with marijuana. Police say the marijuana-infused candy was originally purchased by an Arizona medical marijuana user, but was illegally transferred to the mother in question.
- July, 2016: Two California teens were hospitalized after eating a marijuana-laced cookie. The teens reported purchasing the cookie from a third teenager who was subsequently arrested.
- July, 2016: A Wisconsin teen admitted to using marijuana shortly before his vehicle missed a stop sign and collided with an SUV. The crash killed two people and put a third in the ICU.
- July, 2016: A California man was arrested for giving candy laced with marijuana to a 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy; the 6-year-old was hospitalized for marijuana poisoning.
- June, 2016: Authorities in Arizona believe the woman who caused a deadly crash was driving under the influence of marijuana. Court documents reveal the woman was driving at least 75 MPH in a 40 MPH zone when she crossed the center line, plowing into an oncoming vehicle and killing a man and his daughter.
- May, 2016: A Washington man pleaded guilty to giving his 4-year-old daughter a piece of chocolate cake infused with marijuana. The man reportedly went to his daughter’s daycare, where he gave her the cake. The girl later became “extremely lethargic,” and was taken to a local hospital, where she tested positive for THC–the main, active ingredient in marijuana.
- May, 2016: Hospitals in Colorado reported a spike in the number of newborns born with marijuana in their systems.
- May, 2016: Several churchgoers were sent to the ER after accidentally eating marijuana-infused cookies following church services.
- May, 2016: A 7-year-old boy in Washington was paralyzed by a car accident involving a teen believed to be driving under the influence of Marijuana.
- April, 2016: A twenty-four year old man and two teenage girls were hospitalized after eating gummy candies containing high levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. One of the girls was even admitted to the ICU. According to investigators, each gummy candy contained 450 Mg of THC, and the three victims experienced negative reactions that included seizures, hallucinations, and vomiting. By contrast, 10 Mg of THC is considered a “standard serving size” for a marijuana edible.
- April, 2016: A Utah man was charged with driving under the influence of marijuana following a fatal car crash.
- April, 2016: A Georgia woman was arrested after her five year old said he ate a marijuana cake for breakfast. The child was taken to the hospital for treatment following the incident; according to officials, his pulse was measured at over 200 beats per minute. According to the child’s mother, the cake laced with marijuana was given to her by another person.
- February, 2016: An eight-year-old Oregon boy was taken to the hospital after eating a marijuana-infused cookie he found. The cookie was sealed and labeled that it contained approximately 50 milligrams of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
- February, 2016: A Pennsylvania driver involved in an accident that severely injured a pedestrian tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
- October, 2015: A 27-year-old Oregon man admitted to using marijuana shortly before he struck and killed a female pedestrian.
- August, 2015: An Indiana woman who tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, crossed the median, striking another car head-on and killing its driver.
- August, 2015: A Michigan man drove his car off the road, crashing it into a tree and killing his girlfriend who was a passenger in the vehicle. Officials initially believed the driver was drunk, but later determined the driver had THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system.
- June, 2015: A California man involved in a fatal crash tested positive for elevated levels of THC, according to police. The crash killed one woman and injured five other people. Police said the driver was at a local medical marijuana dispensary prior to the crash, that marijuana was found in his car, and that the driver admitted to smoking marijuana at the dispensary before the accident.
- May, 2015: An Indiana man who officials say tested positive for THC was involved in a head-on collision that resulted in the death of another driver.
- March, 2015: Four high school students were hospitalized after eating brownies laced with marijuana hash oil. One student was actually found unresponsive in a school bathroom after eating a marijuana-laced brownie.
- March, 2015: A Virginia man driving under the influence of marijuana collided with an oncoming train, killing a three-year-old child riding in his car, and injuring two other children.
- February, 2015: A 20-month-old Canadian toddler overdosed after eating a marijuana-laced cookie authorities say his father baked. The child survived, but suffered seizures and had to be admitted to a hospital.
- January, 2015: News outlets in Oregon reported a woman overdosed after she ate three gummy candies laced with marijuana.
- December, 2014: Oklahoma authorities reported a man with marijuana both in his system and on his person drove into oncoming traffic, crashing into another vehicle and killing its driver.
- December, 2014: A high school teacher in Maryland was hospitalized after a student gave her a brownie containing marijuana.
- December, 2014: Two middle school students in Oklahoma were rushed to the hospital after one of them reportedly passed out following marijuana-use at school.
- November, 2014: A Connecticut teen was taken to the hospital from school after she started having difficulty breathing following ingestion of a marijuana-laced gummy bear.
- October, 2014: Officials say a Washington woman with high levels of THC in her system sped through a stoplight at high speed before broadsiding another car and killing its driver.
- June, 2014: According to The Aspen Times, a seven-year-old girl was taken to the hospital after eating marijuana-laced candy her mother brought home from work at an area hotel. The candy was left by a hotel guest–presumably as a tip.
- March, 2014: A California man driving at high speeds under the influence of marijuana ran a red light before losing control of his car and striking another vehicle, killing its driver.
- March, 2014: A 19-year-old college student jumped to his death after eating a marijuana-laced cookie purchased at a licensed marijuana store in Colorado. Reports indicate the man began shaking, screaming, and throwing objects in his hotel room after eating the marijuana “edible.” He ultimately jumped over the fourth-floor railing, into the lobby of the hotel at which he was staying. According to CBS News, the autopsy report listed marijuana as a “significant contributing factor” to his death.
- December, 2013: A two-year-old in Colorado overdosed and was hospitalized after eating a cookie laced with marijuana. News outlet indicate the girl found the cookie in the yard of an apartment complex.
As we keep saying, marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.
Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.