Number of Deaths Caused by Marijuana Much More than 0

From time-to-time proponents of marijuana legalization throw out some fuzzy statistics claiming no one has ever died from marijuana.

Case-in-point, earlier this month a group in Arkansas advocating major changes in our state’s marijuana laws tweeted the following:

“No one has ever died from cannabis.” Let’s investigate this claim.

Unpacking the Statistics on Alcohol and Marijuana

In the tweet above, Arkansans for Compassionate Care is apparently citing a statistic from the Center for Disease Control on the number of deaths from alcohol every year (88,000, on average). If we read how the CDC arrived at that figure, we see it was by calculating the number of alcohol-related accidents and health problems.

In other words, it isn’t simply that 88,000 people die from blood alcohol poisoning (which some might describe as an “alcohol overdose”) each year. Alcohol is contributing to the deaths of about 88,000 people each year in the form of heart and liver problems, car crashes, and so on.

These are what the CDC calls “alcohol attributable deaths” (you can see a full list of them here). They are deaths cause by something that was a direct effect of alcohol use.

So let’s take a look at marijuana-attributable deaths. Has marijuana really never killed anyone, as so many of its proponents claim?


Marijuana Businesses “Growing Like a Weed”

Our friends at Focus On The Family in Colorado Springs have put together some compelling information on marijuana and what legalization means for our communities. In case you have any doubts, the news is not good.

In one of their latest emails, Focus writes,

When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, a Pandora’s Box of problems was opened.

Washington State, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have already followed Colorado’s lead. And, similar efforts to legalize the drug are picking up steam in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine—and now the U.S. Senate.

Marijuana leads to a host of social problems and health-related risks, including increases in drug addition, mental illness, homelessness and crime, along with permanent damage to memory, lung function and brain development—especially in teens. Yet, even with this evidence, states are lining up to legalize this drug for recreational use.

On March 10, an historic and sweeping Senate bill was introduced to essentially end the federal ban on marijuana. The bipartisan CARERS Act—short for Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States—would remove any fear of federal prosecution. While patients and doctors are highlighted as the “compassionate” recipients of this legislation, the biggest benefactor would be the growing marijuana industry.

Meanwhile, another law—the Law of Unintended Consequences—seems to go unnoticed in what Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper calls, “the greatest social experiment of the 21st century.”


CO Hotel Employees Receive Marijuana Training After Overdoses

Colorado, is known for its mountain resorts, but hotel employees are receiving additional training following accidental marijuana overdoses among employees and their families.

According to Summit Daily, departing guests often leave unused food and beverages as tips for housekeeping staff at hotels in Breckenridge. However, with the legalization of marijuana–and marijuana-infused foods–in Colorado, some guests are leaving marijuana edibles behind.

Oftentimes, marijuana-infused food is packaged similarly to popular snacks and candy bars, meaning hotel staff may not realize what they are eating contains marijuana until they begin feeling the effects of the drug.

The Summit Daily writes,

“The edibles-as-tips cases tend to follow a pattern: A hotel employee finds the leftover edibles in an empty guest room and eats them like any other sweets. But recreational products contain up to 100 milligrams of THC, which is roughly the potency of 64 joints made with pre-legalization marijuana, [authorities say]. Without knowing the dosage — first-time users shouldn’t eat more than 5 to 10 milligrams at a time — the employee can take upwards of 10 times the recommended amount of THC.”

According to The Aspen Times, a seven-year-old girl was taken to the hospital last summer after eating marijuana-laced candy her mother brought home from work at an area hotel.

Earlier this week an explosion occurred at an Arizona apartment complex. Witnesses indicated one of the people involved in the explosion was attempting to extract hash oil from marijuana using flammable chemicals–a trend we have written about before.

Stories like these and others from Colorado and elsewhere around the country underscore why so many citizens are leery of efforts to make marijuana more available in our communities.