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The Silly, The Stupid, and The Just Plain False: The Top Ten 'Reefer Madness' Stories of 2011

From the pizza driver who snitched on a pot patient to cannabis 'deaths' and vodka tampons, 2011 was a year of great drug propaganda.
 
 
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Today we bring you the Top Ten “Reefer Madness” Stories of 2011.  ”Reefer Madness”, of course, is the 1936 anti-pot propaganda film showing young people becoming crazed and violent on the effects of “reefer”.  Today, we use “Reefer Madness” as shorthand to describe the hysterical warnings by the anti-drug zealots as reported unchallenged by a complacent media.

10. Oregonian editorial board hypes fears of medical marijuana and teen pot smoking

(The Oregonian –  “Seeing through the smoke” editorial) It’s about time someone took action on the increasing number of medical marijuana dispensaries. … Right now, anyone, including teenagers, can apply [for a medical marijuana card]. A study done by Oregon Partnership found, for example, that 35 percent of students at Wilson High School and 46 percent at Marshall High School knew someone with a card.

Unlike the Oregonian editorial board, I check sources (I work for NORML: I have to.) The survey they refer to was addressed at  a Marshall High community town hall meeting. The poll was conducted by students as part of a project called “SMASH” in a “confidential, random, peer-to-peer” survey – meaning one high school kid asking another high school kid. We have no control group, no control for confounding variables, not even a mention of the survey size or the randomness of those polled (maybe the SMASH kids are more likely to “randomly” speak to their friend, for instance, or stood in the hall and talked to anyone passing by who would answer.)

But besides all the methodological issues arising from trusting the polling data of high school kids talking to their friends, it’s important to note  what their survey actually said:

PERCEPTION: Students surveyed believed that 8 out of 10 students smoke marijuana

REALITY: 7 out of 10 students DO NOT smoke marijuana

Kids surveyed thought 77.3% of others were smoking marijuana.  76.07% of kids never smoked marijuana, another 12.27% smoked it once or twice a month.  So, kids think 3 out of 4 other kids smoke pot when 3 out of 4 kids actually don’t.  Where, oh, where could the kids be getting the message that youth cannabis smoking is out of control, when, in fact, Oregon’s 12th grade monthly cannabis use rates have declined 14% ( before | after) since 1999, when medical marijuana got underway in Oregon?

9. Papa John’s Pizza supports driver who reported medical marijuana patient to police

You would think that pizza delivery companies would understand who their customers are and that a great number of them smoke marijuana.  If you’re a pizza delivery company in Colorado, you’d understand that many of the marijuana smokers in your delivery area may be legally using cannabis for medicinal purposes.  But apparently Papa John’s pizza in Colorado doesn’t care too much about its drivers violating the privacy of its customers who are medical marijuana patients.

(9News) The man was smoking medical marijuana just before the pizza arrived on Friday evening. The delivery driver smelled the marijuana and called the cops. The Papa John’s employee, who was not identified, was concerned because the customer’s 9-year-old daughter was in the house.

8. The annual scaremongering about marijuana-laced Halloween treats begins now

L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Glen Walsh said parents should definitely inspect the candy their children bring home after trick-or-treating.

Walsh said a pungent smell or an odd taste can serve as indicators on whether the food contains marijuana. As for the potency of the marijuana-laced prodcuts, Walsh said the level of THC, the chemical found in marijuana, can vary from zero to over 90 percent.

 
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