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Marijuana Is Safer -- So Why Are We Driving People To Drink?

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"Alcohol causes nearly four percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence." That was the finding promoted earlier this year of the World Health Organization.

Summarized Reuters, who reviewed the report: "Approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes. ... The harmful use of alcohol is especially fatal for younger age groups and alcohol is the world’s leading risk factor for death among males aged 15-59. … Alcohol is a causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries. ... Its consumption has been linked to cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, poisonings, road traffic accidents, violence, and several types of cancer, including cancers of the colorectum, breast, larynx and liver."

Nonetheless, WHO concluded, "[A]lcohol control policies are weak and remain a low priority for most governments despite drinking’s heavy toll on society from road accidents, violence, disease, child neglect and job absenteeism."

The same can't be said for cannabis -- which governments far and wide continue to treat as public enemy #1, despite its relatively nominal risks.

Of course the reason we see these startling links between alcohol consumption and disease is because ethanol, the psychoactive compound in alcohol, and acetaldehyde (what ethanol is converted to after ingestion), pose toxic risks to health cells and organs. By contrast, marijuana’s active compounds — the cannabinoids — pose little comparable risk to healthy cells and organs, and are incapable of causing fatal overdose.

So answer me again: Why do we celebrate consumers and manufacturers of alcohol while we simultaneously target, arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate consumers and producers of a far safer substance?

That was the question we set out to answer when authoring the book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? It's a question that has galvanized the public. This week, the Facebook page for Marijuana Is Safer surpassed 500,000 'fans,' making it one of the all-time most popular book tiles on the social network.

As a result, publisher Chelsea Green is offering a special discount this week on copies of Marijuana Is Safer. Use the code SAFER at the link here and learn how you can obtain copies of Marijuana Is Safer for a significantly reduced price. Then ask your elected officials: 'Why are we driving people to drink?'