Much has been made of Governor Christie’s anti-cannabis remarks during a speech at a forum on substance abuse hosted by the New Jersey Hospital Association in Princeton yesterday. The energy in the online anti-Christie vitriol is profound.
Did anyone think he would speak differently to medical executives?
As hunters of anti-cannabis propaganda, we were saddened by his remarks but not surprised – after all, the 54-year old governor has been fed a propaganda diet for his entire lifetime. And the nascent NJ medical cannabis program has not yet posted the massively good results of say, Colorado , Washington, or Oregon. And it's well known that the Governor lost a friend to "drugs”, a word he seems to have conflated with cannabis yesterday.
The American Cannabis Report feels it’s critical to counter ALL propaganda that helps cannabis remain stuck on the DEA’s Schedule I, rather than Schedule III where it belongs. In the spirit of Judge Louis Brandeis, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”, throw open the blinds on Governor Christie’s themes.
Confusing Medical Cannabis with the Worldwide Opiate Crisis
"We are in the midst of the public health crisis on opiates. But people are saying pot's OK. This is nothing more than crazy liberals who want to say everything's OK. Baloney,” he said.
This statement is a little like saying getting hit by a bicycle is the same as by a Mack Truck because they both have wheels. Of the many differences between medicinal cannabis and opioids, there is NO OVERDOSE POTENTIAL with cannabis. With opioids, 93 Americans die every day. Are we done here?
Addiction: Cannabis addiction potential estimated at 9% vs. alcohol (15%), tobacco (32%), and opiate-addiction occurs within 2 weeks. The opiate crisis is called an "epidemic" by many. (This article on opioid problems will probably turn your stomach)
A 2014 study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found a 25 percent decrease in prescription drug overdoses in states with medical marijuana laws that allow chronic pain patients to participate. Furthermore, from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine, “Marcus Bachhuber, then at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Pennsylvania, found that the annual rate of deaths due to overdose on an opioid painkiller was nearly 25% lower in states that permitted medical marijuana. In 2010, that translated into 1,729 fewer deaths in those states. The researchers also found that the effect grew stronger in the 5 to 6 years after the states approved medical marijuana.”
Cannabis is “Poisoning our kids…”
“We're going to poison our kids for 1 percent more money that they can spend on some God awful, stupid program that they can put in the mailer and send out and say, 'I delivered $300 million more for this.'"
First of all, anyone who repeats the cannabis canard that kids are going to START to have access to cannabis if it’s legalized don’t have kids, or never were kids themselves… as in no one at all. It’s just a lie. Next, who is more likely to “poison kids” – a drug dealer selling to middle and high school kids or a licensed cannabis dispensary owner with $2 million invested in the business and his fingerprints with the FBI?”
Cannabis’ Tax Revenues are Not Worth the Effort
“… [some say] legalization could raise $300 Million in taxes. That’s a rounding error, less than 1% of the NJ budget.”
Here are a few thoughts on enhancing tax revenues for the State of New Jersey from the State of Colorado:
Over $1 Billion in estimated cannabis sales means over $1 Billion out of the hands of drug dealers
New money to build and improve schools, hire teachers and aides, purchase technology and supplies, fund in-school and after school programs, fund college scholarships...
Fund state Infrastructure projects
Increase public safety budgets
Reduce the costs of crime prevention, restoring focus on murders, rapes and other deadly crimes
All revenues stay in the state
Here's an example: In 2015, Colorado raised $121M in cannabis taxes, or about 1/3 the number Christie doesn’t want to bother with. The TOTAL ECONOMIC IMPACTS of $121 M in Colorado’s tax revenue was $2.3 Billion (Billion-with-a-B) in direct, indirect and induced spending, as well as 18,000 jobs. That would make the cannabis industry (as a whole) the LARGEST EMPLOYER IN THE STATE.
White People Will Never Stand for It
"People aren't going to scream when the first head shop opens in Newark or Paterson or Camden or Trenton," Christie said. "But man, I can't wait for the first one to open in Short Hills.”
Excuse us while we back away from this statement so that it can crawl back under its rock.
Earlier, Governor Christie called revenue from the legalization of marijuana “blood money” during the November edition of “Ask the Governor.”
The suggestion is that "cannabis is equivalent to violence". But that’s exactly what legalization is intended to stop. If New Jersey keeps cannabis illegal, it will be only delivered and sold by drug dealers and (violent) traffickers.
LAST but not least:
Cannabis is Just a Drug, and All Drugs Are “Poison”
"People … want to bring this poison, legalized, into this state under the premise that, well, it doesn’t matter because people can buy it illegally anyway. Then why not legalize heroin? I mean, their argument fails just on that basis. Let’s legalize cocaine. Let’s legalize heroin. Let’s legalize angel dust. Let’s legalize all of it. What’s the difference? Let everybody choose.”
Let’s quickly zoom past the voters of 29 states and the District of Columbia and the 90% of the American Public who approve medical cannabis, that disagree with the archaic and discredited notion that cannabis is ‘just a drug’ with no medicinal value. Let’s jump the shark and look at “legalizing all of it” by looking at a very reasonable comparison: the country of Portugal.
Portugal’s population is 10.35 M, while New Jersey’s Population 8.96 M. So Portugal is larger than New Jersey, and one might surmise, would have a bigger drug problem, right?
That was once true: “In 1974, Portugal's dictatorship fell after a coup … the country soon became flooded with drugs. By 1999, a full 1% of the population was actively addicted to heroin, and the country had the highest rate of drug-related AIDS deaths in the European Union.”
Portugal reacted to its crisis in a very counter-intuitive way: in 2001 it legalized all drugs. Why? It realized that criminalization wasn’t working, and that drug abuse should be seen as a public health issue, not a police issue.
Has a drug apocalypse occurred in Portugal? Exactly the OPPOSITE:
Drug-related HIV infections have plummeted by over 90% since 2001, according to the drug-policy think tank Transform.
Drug-related deaths in Portugal are the second-lowest in the European Union. Just three in a million people die of overdoses there, compared with the EU average of 17.3 per million.
The number of adults who have done drugs in the past year has decreased steadily since 2001.
Compared to rest of the EU, young people in Portugal now use the least amount of "legal high" drugs like synthetic marijuana, which are especially dangerous.
The percentage of drug-related offenders in Portuguese prisons fell from 44% in 1999 to 21% in 2012.
The number of people in drug-treatment increased 60% from 1998 to 2011 from 23,600 to 38,000.