by Matt Agorist
When the good people at Marijuana.com went through the WikiLeaks dump of the DNC emails, they found something unrelated to the trove of damning information on the criminal Hillary Clinton. Within the mountains of email texts, was a paid segment by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), stoking fear within Washington, encouraging politicians to be wary of marijuana legalization.
The May 24, 2016 edition of Huddle, a daily Politico newsletter for Capitol Hill insiders, contained this paid advertisement:
** A message from Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America: While neutral on the issue of legalization, WSWA believes states that legalize marijuana need to ensure appropriate and effective regulations are enacted to protect the public from the dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana.
23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal marijuana while Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and D.C. have legalized possession and recreational use. In the years since the state legalized medicinal use, Colorado law enforcement officials have documented a significant increase in traffic fatalities in which drivers tested positive for marijuana.
Congress should fully fund Section 4008 of the FAST Act (PL 114-94) in the FY 2017 Appropriations process to document the prevalence of marijuana impaired driving, outline impairment standards and determine driving impairment detection methods.
While the paid segment is not as fantastical as some of the claims coming from the reefer madness crowd, they are basing their paid propaganda on entirely skewed data.
In May, AAA’s safety foundation released a report concerning cannabis impairment and driving, which proved blood testing drivers for THC holds no scientific validity and should be abandoned. But a second part of the report found that — strictly statistically speaking — car crashes involving drivers who had consumed cannabis were on the rise.
In fact, the number of people involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for cannabis did rise — a statistical doubling — but several caveats to this information were flatly ignored by the mainstream and the WSWA for political advantage.
First, and of no small importance, cannabis isn’t even close to the leading cause of fatal crashes. In fact, when it comes to deadly accidents where the driver tested positive for cannabis, “most” had also consumed alcohol or other drugs.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, of 592 drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013, 38 tested positive for cannabis. In the following year, of 619 deadly crashes, the number testing positive for cannabis jumped to 75. However, as Staci Hoff, Research Director for WTSC, explained:
“Most of these drivers, these 75 drivers, also had alcohol or other drugs” in their systems. Over a five-year period, just 1.8 percent of fatal crashes involved drivers who tested positive only for cannabis.
“So, in our study, we looked at all five years of date, 2010 to 2014,” Hoff continued, “and there were never 3,000 drivers involved in these fatal crashes during that time period. Only 56 of them had THC and only THC, nothing else.”
This skewed statistic has been used by law enforcement, mainstream media, and the alcohol lobby to stoke fear about legalizing weed. Politicians and the public alike, are eating it up and demanding that we have something that can measure ‘how high’ someone is while driving.
“There is currently no scientific consensus regarding the level at which marijuana consumption impairs a driver and no effective way to measure this impairment in the field,” WSWA said in a press release about the legislation. “This is problematic for law enforcement who, in contrast, can quickly and effectively establish a scientifically and legally-supported measure of alcohol impairment.”
As Marijuana.com points out, Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project, said that the alcohol industry has its work cut out for itself in combatting drunk driving and should be wary about being seen as impeding cannabis legalization.
“No one should be driving while impaired by marijuana, and we should certainly be doing more research into all aspects of the substance, including its impact on driving,” he told Marijuana.com in an email. “However, given that driving under the influence of marijuana is already illegal and that the existing research shows marijuana’s effect on driving ability is significantly less than alcohol, it is difficult to see a legitimate reason for the alcohol industry to be taking up this issue. They would do better to fund research on how to decrease drunk driving.”
However, the alcohol industry does not make money by attempting to decrease drunk driving. As long as they can use the government to keep their competition illegal, however, they will. And, this email is evidence that they are trying to do just that.
Nothing highlights the hypocrisy, immorality, and sheer idiocy of the drug war quite like marijuana prohibition. Here we have a medicine that kills cancer cells, saves the lives of countless epileptic children, heals broken bones, relieves pain, treats PTSD, is not dangerous, and exhibits a variety of other incredible benefits – yet the state will kill you over it.
So why do these tyrants keep it illegal?
If you want to know who profits from ruining lives and throwing marijuana users in cages, we need only look at who bribes (also known as lobbies) the politicians to keep the war on drugs alive. Aside from the alcohol industry throwing money at tyrannical legislation, they are joined by law enforcement and big pharma.
Below is a list of the top five industries who need you locked in a cage for possessing a plant in order to ensure their job security.
1 – Police Unions: Coming in as the number one contributor to politicians for their votes to lock you in a cage for a plant are the police themselves. They risk taking massive pay cuts and losing all their expensive militarized toys without the war on drugs.
2 – Private Prison Corporations: No surprise here. The corporatist prison lobby is constantly pushing for stricter laws to keep their stream of tax dollars flowing.
3 – Alcohol and Beer Companies: These giant corporations hate competition, so why not pay millions to keep a cheaper and far safer alcohol alternative off the market? Case in point, the WSWA.
4 – Pharmaceutical Corporations: The hypocrisy of marijuana remaining a Schedule 1 drug, “No Medical Use Whatsoever,” seems criminal when considering that pharmaceutical companies reproduce a chemical version of THC and can market and sell it as such. Ever hear of Marinol? Big pharma simply uses the force of the state to legislate out their competition; that happens to be nature.
5 – Prison Guard Unions: The prison guard unions are another group, so scared of losing their jobs, that they would rather see thousands of non-violent and morally innocent people thrown into cages than look for another job.
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