It’s Reefer Madness all over again as David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush who now has his own conservative political website, claims that last weekend’s tragic events in Tucson, Arizona are a good reason to continue America’s war on marijuana users.
“The Tucson shooting should remind us why we regulate marijuana,” Frum wrote. “Jared Lee Loughner, the man held as the Tucson shooter, has been described by those who know as a ‘pot smoking loner.’ He had two encounters with the law, one for possession of drug paraphernalia.”
But, as pointed out by Stephen C. Webster at The Raw Story
, Frum has a tenuous grasp of the facts.
|Photo: Big Dan’s Big Blog
|David Frum thinks that smoking marijuana will make you want to go out and shoot people. Seriously.
Most importantly, marijuana is not regulated in the United States — it is prohibited, and no regulations can be applied to an underground market. Regulation of marijuana would mean a legal market with industry standards, like measured THC levels, packaging rules, and testing for pesticides.
“After the Tucson shooting, there may be renewed pressure to control the weapons that committed the crime,” Frum wrote. “But what about the drugs that may have aggravated the killer’s mental disease? The trend these days seems toward a more casual attitude and easier access to those drugs.
“Among the things we should be discussing in the aftermath of this horror is the accumulating evidence of those drugs’ potential contribution to making some dangerous people even more dangerous than they might otherwise have been,” Frum wrote.
Frum asserts that marijuana exacerbates schizophrenia, but many researchers believe any association between the two is due to schizophrenics’ self-medicating with marijuana to relieve their symptoms.
But even if we, for the sake of argument, assume that marijuana does aggravate schizophrenia, that still isn’t a good argument for cannabis prohibition.
Frum also didn’t claim that marijuana causes schizophrenia-if it did, the increase in marijuana use over the past 100 years would have produced a prevalence of schizophrenia much higher than the current .81% of the U.S. population. Nevertheless, the research is overwhelming regarding this point: Marijuana use is clearly contraindicated among those with a family history of schizophrenia or those with a current diagnosis of schizophrenia.
But to argue that marijuana should remain illegal for everyone because its use is contraindicated in 0.81 percent of the population is nonsensical, especially considering the high cost (both in money and lives ruined) of the marijuana laws.
Be that as it may, according to Mother Jones
magazine, Loughner hadn’t smoked marijuana for some time before the shootings. A close friend of the assassin told the magazine he had gone “Straight Edge.”
“He was clean, clean,” the friend said. “I saw him after that continuously. He would not do it.”
The friend also said that after quitting pot, Loughner suddenly became far more of a psychopath than when he was actively using marijuana.
Frum also did not suggest how the U.S. might go about making access to marijuana more difficult, since the stuff is already illegal coast to coast under federal law, as well as illegal for recreational use under the laws of all 50 states.
Despite its illegal nature — and perhaps at least partially because of it — marijuana is easily available almost everywhere. Reform advocates point to research showing that many teens today find it easier to get marijuana than either alcohol or tobacco — both legal for adults.
So, how knowledgeable is Frum about the things he’s supposed to know, as opposed to marijuana, about which he doesn’t know shit? Well, we can possibly gain an insight on that by noting his speechwriting specialty during the Bush Administration: Economics.
Remember all those inspiring W speeches on the economy? Exactly — neither do I.