Unpacking the Polling On “Medical” Marijuana in Arkansas

Earlier this month Talk Business published the results of a poll conducted in cooperation with Impact Management and Hendrix College. The poll purports to show 84% of Arkansas voters support “medical” marijuana prescribed by a physician.

Many people are touting these poll results as proof Arkansans support legalization of “medical” marijuana. But before we jump to conclusions, let’s look at the key question in the poll regarding marijuana:

“Do you agree or disagree that adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician prescribes it?”

According to Talk Business, 84% of people surveyed answered “agree.” There is a problem, however: The kind of marijuana proposal described by this poll question is nothing like any of the proposals being offered to Arkansans right now. In fact, it’s nothing like any “medical” marijuana law we know of in the nation.

Here is what we mean. (more…)

In CO, Marijuana Use by Kids 58% Above Average

An article in Citizen magazine’s August issue reveals some disturbing facts about marijuana use in the U.S.:

  • Some of today’s products laced with marijuana concentrates have 400 percent greater potency than marijuana joints sold 30 years ago.
  • Marijuana concentrate is available in forms designed to appeal to children, including lollipops, gummies, cherry drops, brownies, chocolates, cookies, fruit punches, and sodas.
  • In Colorado, marijuana use by kids between the ages of 12 and 17 is now 58 percent higher than the national average.
  • The rate of use among college-age adults in Colorado is 54 percent above the national average.
  • Drug-related suspensions from Colorado schools jumped 34 percent from the 2005-2009 period to the 2010-2014 period, while alcohol-related suspensions stayed flat.

We have written before about how children and adults mistake marijuana edibles for traditional candy.

Emergency rooms are seeing more cases of children accidentally ingesting marijuana, and marijuana is increasingly linked with schizophrenia and other mental problems.

Rod Thomson writes for Citizen,

A top concern for many people who are now part of the resistance is the fact that kids under the age of 21—the minimum age for purchasing marijuana that was written into the law—are nonetheless consuming it at stunning levels, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA), an offshoot of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which coordinates efforts between federal, state and local drug-enforcement agencies.

Moreover, today’s marijuana includes concentrated products, like cannabis butter or oil, which are made by extracting the psychoactive ingredient of the plant for a very powerful effect.

You can read more here.

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?