Fear-mongering is a common technique employed by the very powerful as a method of obtaining or maintaining control. As those who once held the power during the drug war begin seeing it slip away, their propagandist strategies for spreading irrational fear in an effort for maintaining their draconian policies increases. In times like these, one must maintain a rational mind, while expecting large amounts of bullshit to come flowing one’s way.
We see this presented in vague, pointless data that seems to say something, but if you think into it further, it really doesn’t. For instance, a commonly regurgitated statistic is that ever since marijuana legalization, calls to poison control have increased. Now, while this may seem alarming at first, further investigation begs the question, how many of these calls were the result of or resulted in, a serious issue? We’ve all had that friend who smokes too much and starts freaking out and stammering about how they’re going to die. How many of these types of people, when not in the company of an experienced, level-headed pothead, call poison control? Or rush off to the emergency room in a panicked state, when nothing is actually wrong.
This is another common, yet pointless, statistical complaint prohibitionists like to make — that there have been an increase in emergency room visits since legalization. Again, so what? What was the outcome of these visits? Was it actually life-threatening? Or was the person just having anxiety because they didn’t understand what was happening to them. We all know by this point that marijuana consumption cannot cause a lethal overdose, so the best argument one could make from these statistics is that these people are wasting valuable medical time that could be used to treat real life-threatening emergencies. But is this cause for prohibition? Or more of an argument for public education into the effects of marijuana?
It is important to keep a rationale mind when it comes to analyzing statistical data. While the data might be correct, how its being spun to you may be nonsensical. Imagination can lead you astray. While a ghost is far more interesting than a lens flare, what you’re looking at is likely just a lens flare.
Kenneth Dinkins is a professional stoner, a Social Consumption Specialist at the Coffee Joint and your only hope in hell if we’re ever invaded by radioactive monkeys from outer space.