top of page
  • Christopher Smith, Publisher

Wonky Data Ropes Dope, Fails to Convince Those with Brains

Would you like a little spice with your breakfast today?

Here goes:

One thing I can say about the Propaganda Pushers and Prohibition Preachers: just when you think they might get tuckered out, those little fuckers crawl out from under the sink to try and scare everybody all over again.

I should announce a trigger warning… for bullshit.

Check out this headline from DOPE MAGAZINE:


The "data" underlying this "study" is as thin as the paper it’s not printed on. And alarmingly, Dope Magazine is complicit in the hype!

Look at their lede: “A new study with a modest sampling pool found that cannabis retail companies are not adhering to state restrictions on social media and are targeting teens… The study was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs … and found that many recreational cannabis companies market their products in a way that appeals to children and teens, "flouting state regulations." (italics mine)


The study’s inherent bias is revealed in the press release that accompanied it. Lead author pediatrician Dr. Megan Moreno, states "I had expected that cannabis companies were unlikely to fully adhere to existing guidelines."

And surprise, surprise, her team was able to summon data that confirmed her bias.

These do-gooder doctors should put their capes away and stick with their stethoscopes.

The "facts" of the study prepare us for the curious conclusions ahead:

  • It examined social media posts from 2017 and 2018.

  • The data was collected in a Filemaker Database (remember that software that was so cool in the era of MySpace and Napster?)

  • It was submitted to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 2 years ago in 2020, and finally posted 2 days ago.

... So, the data they’re looking at is at least 4 years old, but it’s even more sketchy than that:

  1. Did it survey social media posts by all cannabis companies in 2017?

    1. Nope. They picked only 4 REC states in 2017, in which they found 80 rec companies, but only 14 companies passed their criteria.

  2. So, did they at least look at all of their social media posts?

    1. Nope. Only Facebook and Instagram and only 2,660 posts – that’s about 1 post every other day, but sometimes only on Fridays, and don't hurt yourself scratching you head over their methods

And the GIANT LEAP IN LOGIC in this hokey-pokey study (and Dope’s un-critical coverage) the indefensible suggestion is that companies are intentionally targeting teens when they break regulations.

For example:

  • A regulation they examined was "showing that a product's price was "discounted"

    • Is this a teen-targeted message?

    • Or simply a budget-conscious message?

  • Another aggrieved regulation in 2017 was "showing the use of product"

    • Yes, it's against regulations but targeted at teens?

    • Are teens especially susceptible to bong hits?

    • Or put another way, if one wanted to target teens, is that how one would do it? I don’t think you can make that leap

  • Another finding was that Washington dispensaries showed branded products such as T-shirts with a company logo. Guess how many?

    • 1%.

    • 99% compliance, yet the claim is that cannabis companies are "targeting teens." Ridiculous!

And the simplest question of all, which no one is asking: why would a dispensary target teens when teens can’t even get in the door?

This methods and conclusions of this "study" harken back to the Reefer Madness days of lies and innuendo purportedly "supported" by similarly suspicious data... Remember Victor Licata?

And never forget that the original title of that film was "Tell Your Children."


The dopes from Dope FINALLY redeemed themselves way at the bottom of the article, saying "If legal cannabis companies are targeting teens, it doesn’t appear to be working.

"A separate, broad study published in the JAMA Pediatrics … examined data from 27 states and the District of Columbia, and seven states where adult use of cannabis is legal, during a 25-year time period. Adult-use cannabis laws were associated with an eight percent decrease in the likelihood of teens trying cannabis, as well as a nine percent reduction in the odds of frequent cannabis use, the study found.”




bottom of page