Here at The Weed Blog, we make sure everything we say is backed by fact. Although our opinions on the issue of marijuana are obviously bias, we never make bold, exaggerated claims like, "marijuana is a miracle drug that will cure any ailment known to man," or, "marijuana consumption does not have any negative effect on the body." If we ever do make a bold claim, or use a statistic of some sort, we make sure to site a well reputable source we got the information from. We have an advantage over mainstream news outlets though; since the majority of our readers already posses a vast knowledge concerning cannabis, we don't have to justify claims or site studies that the marijuana community recognizes as common knowledge.
I wonder how this works on the other side though? Do you think mainstream news outlets don't site studies or justify bold claims they feel to be common knowledge? Well I have a great example of a well reputable Utah news source misrepresenting marijuana in such a huge, deliberate way, it nearly made me sick.
I just read an article this morning from a website named "thespectrum.com: southern Utah's #1 source for news and information." This article was about how neighboring states should pay attention to what's going on with marijuana in California because if cannabis does become available for recreational use it could very well spread to other states (let's hope so!). "Good article!" I thought to myself, but then I went on to read it. The article is full of negative connotations to marijuana, which we are all used to; however, these claims were so outrageous they left me thinking whether or not this "news source" had writers that cared at all about reporting accurate information.
Although it's covered with back handed comments and little bits of misinformation, everything about the quality of the article can be summed up by one sentence: "Anyone who has fought addiction, or watched friends or family members struggle with addiction, should be cautious about supporting a law legalizing an addictive, destructive substance such as marijuana, which when smoked, studies show, is 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic (cancer causing) than cigarettes." Bold claims, there, thespectrum.com! See, to us here at TWB, it's common knowledge that marijuana is less addictive than your morning coffee (DrugLibrary.org), but apparently to the rest of the world, marijuana is still up there with heroin and nicotine! I would also love to see the study that shows marijuana as being up to 70% MORE cancer causing than cigarettes! By that logic there should be up to 70% MORE deaths every year as a result of marijuana consumption. Deaths a year caused by cigarettes: 435,000; deaths IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND caused by marijuana: 0 (DrugWarFacts.org).
It makes me sad that news outlets such as this, news outlets that people depend on for accurate information, are reporting such egregious claims about marijuana. We are fighting an uphill battle, but we mustn't let things like this discourage us. The country is blanketed with half truths and full lies about marijuana, and it is our job as activists to get out accurate information and to educate the otherwise ignorant! Do some research; find some concrete statistics and test results you can quote to people to back up your claims. Take an educated stand when debating, instead of a strictly passionate one. In a country full of darkness, the light has to come from somewhere! Be the light!