Oregon Fair Cannabis Competition

Among the contests for kids’ 4-H projects and largest livestock at the Oregon State Fair this year, a new competition became a fast crowd favorite: the Oregon Cannabis Grower’s Fair. The fair is not the only to feature a drug of some sort—there is also an alcohol competition for home beer brewers—but it is something new that is exciting the people of Oregon as well as out of town tourists who came to see the products. The three categories of sativa, indica, and hybrid varieties were judged with the traditional blue, purple and yellow ribbons of the fair.

The chair of Oregon Cannabis Business Council, Don Morse, said of the competition, “We regularly reach out to the community with some form of education, to de-stigmatize the industry and the plant. For the people at the state fair to let this happen is really groundbreaking.” Although fair goers were not able to sample the product during the fair, it was a big step in de-stigmatizing the plant. Plants in the fair were also prohibited from flowering, meaning that no buds could be showing during the festival.

The many exhibitors who agreed to take part in the fair also helped de-stigmatize the plant. Some of the major names present at the festival included Frito Lay and Security Monster. Fans of Friendly Farms, Northwest Ice Pipes, and Grow for Vets were able to see their exhibits at the fair. Many marijuana-related industry leaders of the area like Higher Promos and New Approach Bookkeeping were also available. Some sponsors of the festival included Sky High, MRX Labs, Dope Magazine, Savant Plant Technologies and Odin. 

Ed Rosenthal gave the opening ceremony address on Saturday, August 13. The show ran until 4:00 PM on Sunday with an Energy Trust Presentation on both days. Attendants were also able to take part in OLCC Overview for the Grower Community and a presentation on Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Role in the Cannabis Industry. 

More than 60 growers showcased their crops during the 2016 Oregon Cannabis Growers’ Fair.  Master growers were on hand to help educate the public about everything from how pot is tested to maintain quality to the rules and regulations in the industry. Attendants were also able to check out the latest technologies utilized to produce crops. Growers who were already licensed were invited to attend the event in order to learn more about growing overall. Both small and large crop growers were in attendance to check out the latest marijuana news and techniques.

Winners of the fair were judged on several categories. Some of these included the color of the plant, the shape and stricture of the plant and node stacking. Leaf structure was also a factor during judging, as was the aroma of each plant. Judges took a look at the general health of each plant being judged as well as any pests that seemed to be present, if any.

Uplifted Farms took the first place ribbons in both indica and sativa while Canna Manna won first place in the hybrid competition. Second place honors went to Fetched Farms for sativa, Synergy Farms for indica and Royal Ambrosia for hybrid plants. Third place winners at the competition include WAH farms for sativa plants, Sky High farms for indica and AHSG Farms for hybrids.

Remembering Jack Splitt

Jack Splitt was a marijuana advocate who changed the world (or at least Colorado).

When it comes to recalling the big names in the movement to legalize marijuana, most people cites celebrities, well-known stoners and plenty of people in the music business. A young hero among the many people who deserve mentioning, teen Jack Splitt, passed away in September of 2016. Splitt was an advocate for both medical marijuana as well as special needs children who could benefit most from the drug as a treatment.

Splitt, who lived with cerebral palsy and severe dystonia, was 15 when he died. Colorado citizens remember Splitt for his dedication for getting kids the right to have medical marijuana treatments for eligible kids. The Jefferson County teen lobbied for these rights and helped to change the laws twice, making him hailed as a hero in the process. Three lawmakers even came to his memorial service.

Representative Jonathan Singer asked during the service, “How many 15-year-olds change the world the way Jack did? He changed more minds on the issue of medical marijuana than I think I ever did, and he finally put a human face to what most people perceive as a Cheech-and-Chong subject. But it’s not a Cheech-and-Chong subject. It’s kids’ lives and their well-being.”

Indeed, while kids in other schools across the nation may not have access to medical marijuana, because of Splitt, those in Colorado do. Cannabis helped treat the excruciating pain that accompanied his illness, just as it is able to do with many other children with life-threatening or chronic diseases.
When he passed away, Splitt had just started high school. According to his mother, Stacey Linn, Splitt was a charmer, a flirt and an admirable role model for his younger brother, Cooper. She says, “He fought hard for children everywhere, there is no doubt, but we’ll also remember his smile.” Although he left a grieving family, friends and community behind, Splitt’s legacy, known as “Jack’s Law,” (PDF) will forever be remembered.

Jack’s Law allows parents to come to school and administer medical marijuana treatments to their children as needed. Along with his mother, Splitt began his fight when a school employee removed a patch from his arm that had been delivering medical marijuana into his blood, interfering with his paint treatment. The two were appalled that someone would do such a thing when it came to the health and well-being of a student at the school and decided to take action against such behavior in the future.

Their battle began uphill. They fought and won a bill allowing schools to make their own policies allowing students to use medical marijuana on campus, but unfortunately not a single school took up the mantle to bring forth their policy in its district. Determined to obtain access for the students of Colorado, Splitt pioneered forward to fight for parents to simply enter any school campus and administer medical marijuana when necessary to a student in 2016. 

Cannabis Patients Alliance founder Teri Robnett says that “Oftentimes we know that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed, but when you have a sympathetic face that can really bring focus to the issue, you can really do amazing things. And that’s what Jack did.” Robnett went on to say that law would likely have not passed had it not been for Splitt in the first place.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into effect in June 2016, much to the relief of parents and children all across the state of Colorado. Politicians from both sides of the aisle came together after hearing Splitt speak, deciding that ultimately it was the health and wellbeing of the children that mattered far beyond politics. The people of Colorado have Jack Splitt to thank for that.


Pot in the Movies

Marijuana has an interesting relationship with Movies.

Reefer Madness may have so many negative connotations that it is considered one of the most epic fails of the American government, but it’s no secret that Hollywood is mad for reefer. Smoking pot is a favorite frequent theme in the film industry, and it’s no wonder why: not only are there plenty of moviegoers who want to see movies about their own struggles and lifestyles, but pot scenes make for pretty funny entertainment. They can also lead to some serious drama. In fact, some movies about pot were specifically made to warn people away from the drug, often using pseudo science and scare tactics that were later proven to be misleading if not outright lies.

Of course, in most cases, films utilize herbal tobacco as a substitute for real hemp, which still sometimes gets actors a little more high than directors might like. Even the makers of the TV show Weeds say that their actors experience highs with their weed substitutes on the set! With that in mind, here are some of the most famous movies that feature plots full of pot.

The coming of age comedy starring Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck and company has a huge cult following. Even though Quentin Tarantio lauds the movie as the 10th best film of all time, and Entertainment Weekly dubbed it not only one of the best movies about high school of all time but also one of the funniest movies ever made, it made less than $8 billion at the box office. 

In 1998, Dave Chappelle, Jim Breuer and several other comedians starred in Tamra Davis’s cult favorite movie Half Baked. From the ludicrousness of killing a police horse with junk food to a rapper named Sir Smoke a Lot, it is the ultimate stoner comedy. Although the movie achieved moderate box office success, it was a critical flop that was only loved by diehard fans. John Stewart, Janeane Garofalo, Snoop Dog, Willie Nelson and several other celebrities made cameo performances in the film, which is a reason why so many believe it has  such a big cult following in the first place.

It’s probably the most well-known and beloved stoner comedy of all time, and it’s what people think about when you ask them about pot movies. Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke was the duo’s first full length feature film, even though Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong had been a counterculture comedy team for more than a decade prior to its release. The story of a jobless pot smoker given an ultimatum by his parents to either get a job or get packing to military school, the film established the stoner comedy genre. From dog feces jokes to Vietnam War flashbacks, some consider it the weirdest movie ever made. Many people, stoners or not, list is as one of their favorite movies of all time.

Known as one of the worst movies ever made, Reefer Madness was made in 1936 as a shock film to get people worried about the effects of pot. Much like the rest of the reefer madness hysteria, it is filled with inaccuracies that are so wild and out there that it might was well be a satirical film—and in recent times, that is how the movie has been portrayed. Also known under the titles Tell Your Children, Doped Youth, Dope Addict and Love Madness, the movie implies that pot is to blame for suicide, manslaughter, attempted rape, and the general process of going crazy.


Popular Marijuana Edibles for Stoners

Weed has a lot of delicious edible options!

When the average person thinks about marijuana edibles, they probably think about one thing: brownies. From films to frat parties, pot-laced brownies are a huge running joke as well as a tradition. Many people might be surprised that when you shop for marijuana edibles today—whether you’re purchasing hemp oil online or you are perusing snacks at your local dispensary—there are hundreds of choices available. 

It is useful to know a bit about cannabutter, which is the vessel used to implement pot into many foods. Recipe books like The Stoner’s Cookbook give details about how to prepare and use cannabutter and many other foods that contain cannabis. As pot becomes legal in more and more areas, the availability and variety of choices of hemp-including foods and drinks will likely continue to increase. From mints to sauces, baked goods to beverages, here are some of the most popular marijuana edibles that you may wish to try.

Raspberry Macaroons
These sweet treats already sound mouthwatering without the added bonus of hemp, but the handmade desserts won first place in the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup in Northern California during the 2015 competition. The treats are pretty and raw, making them great for people on raw food diets, and they each carry 50 milligrams of THC per package. Some flavor notes include cocoa and maple syrup along with coconut oil that has been infused with cannabis for an extra something special.

Reef Jerky
If you love dehydrated meat products and THC, Reef Jerky is the choice for you. This snack, which is produced by Badfish, won first place in an edibles competition in San Bernardino and contains a whopping 100 milligrams of THC per package. Badfish is known for plenty of other fun edibles, including their famous barbecue sauce.

Ice Cream
There are several varieties of pot ice cream on the market, each with its own unique flavor and THC content levels. Some award-winning varieties include Beezle's Creamery Crème Brûlée and Cali High Thai'd Ice Cream, the Sacred Sweets Orange Creamsicle Creampop (which is charged with carnelian gemstones and 54.73 mg THC in a serving), and Beezle’s Creamery macaroon ice cream sandwiches. Some of these even include instructions on how to eat them, such as waiting 30 minutes for the full effect to take place.

From chocolate-covered blueberries (offered by Kiva Confections) to dark chocolate macaroons (courtesy of Utopia Meds), there are endless chocolate and pot possibilities. Between the original brownie and the beloved connection between chocolate and pot that already exists, why wouldn’t there be? The Indus Holding Co.’s Altai Sea Salt Caramel Bon Bons, handmade chocolates with 25 g of sativa in each bite, are especially addictive according to some fans—but only half a bon bon is needed for an initial high. Makers even suggest waiting for two hours before eating the rest!

Root Beer
Who said root beer is totally drug free? It might not contain alcohol, but it sure can include marijuana, as the Keef Cola company’s own Bubba Kush Root Beer does. Although it tastes just like regular root beer, it contains 101.95 milligrams of THC for all of your psychedelic needs. Other fun marijuana beverages include the Tahoe Herbal Company’s Kannabucha, which combines brewed kombucha with cannabis for pot-loving kombucha fans, the cannabis containing cold tonic Legal, which comes in flavors like cherry and lemon, and Canna Cola’s popular Orange Kush flavor. Canna Punch, which is not carbonated, contains a whopping 151mg of activated THC per bottle and comes in flavors like raspberry and pineapple mango.


Marijuana in Popular Culture

Pot is getting even more popular!
Chances are that you hear pot mentioned in pop culture just about every day, whether you know it or not. No matter its legality, it is used in so many phrases, gestures, songs, films and other parts of modern society that if an alien landed here on any given day, it would likely assume that pot was not only legal but a major part of our lifestyle. Here are just some of the uses of marijuana that frequent pop culture.

420 might mean Weed Day, but the number also signifies a time of the day when people get high. Although the number has a history with police codes for marijuana use during the 1970s in San Francisco, it started to spread across the country and most people had no idea why the number was used to refer to getting high. At that time period, people even referred to it as “420-ing” when they wanted to get together to smoke a joint.

In modern times, celebrities are the biggest part of American pop culture, so it’s no wonder that so many of them are so well known for their pot love and use. From Dave Chapelle to Rhianna, Jason Statham to Bob Saget to one of the most popular supporters of cannabis of all time, Bill Maher, there are always going to be celebrities sticking up for the much maligned pot plant. Celebrities talking about pot is one thing, but many of them actually even use it on and off camera (mostly in films, given its questionable legal status in so many states).

Movies, TV shows and song lyrics are some of the most well-known sources of pot references in pop culture. Some movies, like Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and The Pineapple Express, are solely dedicated to the drug, as are some TV shows, like Weeds. Others, like Never Been Kissed, may feature a humorous scene devoted largely to the drug. From Afro Man to Bob Dylan to Snoop to so many other artists in between, enough songs have been written about pot to play on loop for days. Perhaps the most popular and well-known instance of marijuana in media is Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke.

So many public officials and leaders have admitted to using pot that it’s become an expected admission. Given how reluctant Bill Clinton was to admit that he’d ever sampled marijuana, it’s almost comical that President Obama only a few years later repeatedly and openly admitted to using the drug in his own autobiography. They were far from the first presidents to use it, of course—George Washington grew hemp on his property at Mount Vernon to use it in textiles and Abraham Lincoln spoke fondly about smoking cannabis.
People fly the pot leaf on flags like it’s something they are just as patriotic about as their own national flag, if not more so. This display of pot pride in pop culture is not limited to flags, of course. Some people have huge banners or tapestries featuring pot leaves while others may hang posters displaying their favorite hemp plant—often with glow in the dark effects.

Art, flags and posters are not the only way to display the love of pot in this country. Many people wear cannabis leaves on their clothing. From hats to socks, t-shirts to pajama pants, there’s pretty much a pot option for any kind of clothing you can imagine. Some people have even spoofed popular brands by making them all about pot, replacing logos with pot leaves.


How Cannabis Helps Patients with Glaucoma

Glaucoma symptoms can be helped greatly with weed.

To understand how cannabis helps patients with glaucoma, it can be beneficial to understand what glaucoma is in the first place. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Glaucoma is an eye condition in which the optic nerve becomes damaged over time, reducing side vision. It sometimes leads to blindness. One cause of optic nerve damage in glaucoma is higher-than-normal pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure or IOP).” More than 3 million Americans have glaucoma, with 2.7 million of those being age 40 or older.

Medication, prescription eye drops, laser treatments and surgery are all currently used to treat glaucoma, which has no cure as of yet. These methods of treatment are helpful for some people but it truly depends on how far the disease has progressed in each individual case. Some people still go blind as a result. 
Marijuana helps treat glaucoma by lowering IOP, but the effect usually only lasts for a few hours, which means that patients must use enough of the drug for it to regularly lower the levels of pressure to actually make a difference. Studies since the 1970s have proven that the THC in marijuana is responsible for this effect. If smoking marijuana were used to treat glaucoma, however, patients would need to smoke it six to eight times a day to receive the benefits necessary to truly return pressure levels to normal.

This, of course, is problematic in several ways. While some people would not mind being high that often, most people would not be able to function at that level. They would be too impaired to drive anywhere, let alone operate heavy machinery. Luckily now that cannabis is becoming legal in more places across the nation, so, too, is the research associated with using it for health reasons, giving scientists the green light to find out just how to harvest THC for medicinal purposes without resulting in a constantly stoned population of people with glaucoma. 

Some of the delivery methods being studied include oral, sublingual, and eye drop instillation. In the studies already conducted, most patients did not continue taking their oral medication within months due to adverse side effects, still rendering it less a viable treatment option than the medications and surgical treatment options available. Still, continued development may someday lead to a more natural and less invasive treatment for glaucoma that utilizes THC instead of a laser, knife or drugs with potential side effects.

Another issue with THC being used as a glaucoma treatment is that it lowers blood pressure. While that might be a boon to many people—indeed, some people use it for that very reason—it might also be a hindrance in treating glaucoma. Studies have revealed that reduced blood flow to the optic nerve may simply cause more damage to patients with glaucoma. Like people who live with Parkinson’s Disease, these patients rely on steady pressure for a better response. So the calming, slowing effect of THC may actually prove to be problematic in this case.

As of right now, the American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend cannabis as a viable treatment for glaucoma, opting to instead recommend medication, surgery and prescription eye drops. Some ophthalmologists, however, may still recommend it to patients as an alternative therapy when other therapies fail to work, or to help treat additional symptoms of glaucoma, like pain, nausea and vomiting. When a patient chooses this route, he or she should be carefully monitored in order to keep an eye on the effects of THC on the patient overall.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Marijuana.

As many jokes about pot being the “mellowing drug” circulate within pop culture in everything from music from any decade to Scooby Doo, the calming effects of cannabis are actually a medical benefit that helps combat symptoms from many health conditions. Veterans who return from war suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have found relief in simply implementing marijuana into their health routines. 

As counter-culture and ironic as it sounds that the very people who put their lives on the line for the government, the body that outlawed pot in the first place, often require the help of that very illegal substance to cope with the horrors they’ve witnessed courtesy of that government, the fact remains that the remedy works for many vets, giving them the peace of mind they need in order to survive as civilians.

More than 10% of veterans are estimated to suffer from PTSD. The illness can go undiagnosed for 30 years or more, rendering that estimate a lowball one. It is estimated that 30% or more of Vietnam veterans had or have PTSD and that around 20% of veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan war experience the disorder. 
Many experts say that these numbers are also low estimates and that the actual number of people who suffer from PTSD is much higher. With nearly 50,000 homeless vets in America, treatment for mental illness and PTSD is more needed than ever. While this number has declined significantly due to national efforts to put more safety nets in place for veterans, around 50% of vets do suffer from some sort of disability.

Pot helps combat the symptoms of PTSD in several ways. The obvious one, as mentioned above, is the calming effect it can have on a person who is experiencing a trigger that could lead to a PTSD episode. The cannabinoids found in marijuana also affect memories, which is beneficial to veterans and other people who experience PTSD because it helps their bodies to stop responding to the memory of a stimulus that instigated a fight or flight response during wartime.

The process known as memory extinction occurs when the body properly eliminates the associations to the original stimulus caused by an event—in this case, trauma from the violence of war—which eventually allows the individual to cope better with the memories, allowing some individuals to completely move on from the event. While many people will never forget certain experiences they have undergone in traumatic circumstances, cannabis can help their memory extinction function properly in order to help them recover as they would under more normal circumstances.

Although many ex-soldiers have been prescribed sedatives, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs in order to combat their PTSD symptoms, many have not experienced the life-saving effects with those drugs that they were able to obtain from marijuana. As a result, more vets are turning to pot to help with their symptoms instead of the VA, which, as a federal entity, cannot endorse pot as a treatment option. Luckily some organizations, such as the Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance, not only work to help vets obtain access to medical marijuana, but also provide the drug to them freely.

Obviously the benefits of pot against PTSD symptoms are not limited to veterans. Anyone who has experienced trauma that led to the disorder could potentially benefit from the effects of pot. According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, around 8% of the public will experience PTSD in their lifetimes, reporting that, “Women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury.”

How Marijuana Got Its Name

As familiar as you are with marijuana, are you as familiar with the controversy surrounding the drug’s name? Many people are so averse to calling pot marijuana that they refuse to call it that, opting instead for the term cannabis. Up until the drug was rendered illegal by the American government, it was not known as marijuana at all but as cannabis. In fact, it was the American government itself that decided to call the drug marijuana.

Harry Anslinger, who served as the as the first director of the recently created Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, always used the term when he spoke publicly to condemn the drug. Associating it with fear-mongering tactics against Mexican immigrants, Anslinger also used the term against African Americans, saying things like, “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.”

Why marijuana? Simply put, the term sounded more “Mexican,” helping to drive a wedge between the general population and the 890,000 legal immigrants from Mexico, some of whom used the drug—never mind that plenty of people were already using marijuana at the time, that it had been used for centuries for medical uses, was found in pharmacies throughout the United States and was currently the “in vogue” drug of the rich before its ban.

Anslinger also said that the drug “makes darkies think they’re as good as white men…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”  With these openly racist statements behind the term, it’s no wonder that many people want to distance themselves from the word marijuana—and it’s still a wonder how these obvious lies and racist statements led to making weed illegal in the first place. Modern day politics should be able to acknowledge this gross injustice and render these laws void easily, not after the ridiculous amount of struggle that has been required to date.

Prior to the rise of immigration to the United States, pot was in fact the drug of choice for the wealthy class, who found it to be a novelty to try after witnessing celebrities like Alexander Dumas extol its many benefits. You had to be wealthy in order to afford the imported drug and experimenting with it was the boredom buster of the time when you had the cash to do it.

Some historians claim that the racism associated with the term is not true, given that many people referred to it as “locoweed” during the 20th century, which would have been a much more derogatory term. Some even say that it may be a totally different drug than the one that was used in the first place, especially given how many different strains of marijuana there are today. The fact remains that federal prohibition of marijuana is attributed by most modern day historians as a campaign against immigration more than anything else, and the sound bytes exist to prove that racism was definitely involved in suppressing the drug. Although the first bill to regulate the drug, passed in California in 1913 by the Board of Pharmacy as a general regulation for opiates and other pharmaceuticals, did not seem related to this “reefer madness” theory, most of the laws that followed did.

Medical Marijuana and the Doctor Knowledge Gap

Physicians just can't wrap their brains around legal Weed.

As more states legalize marijuana, the drug is rapidly becoming a viable treatment for a variety of conditions. This is no surprise given the drug’s ample history as medicine, but there is a very unfortunate side effect of it having been outlawed for decades. Modern physicians aren’t exactly sure what to do with it.
While there are many doctors who study the different effects of marijuana on the human body and make an effort to truly understand how to prescribe it when legal, the fact remains that without both significant studies conducted on the drug for medical purposes and medical training regarding pot, most physicians do not feel prepared to prescribe the drug as a treatment for their patients.

This “marijuana knowledge gap” is not only about knowing what ailments are treatable with the drug, either. Many physicians are also clueless about what dosage to prescribe as well as the mode of marijuana delivery, whether it should be inhaled, eaten, used as an oil or taken otherwise. While this issue is common among older physicians who have been practicing while the drug was illegal, even young doctors are having a hard time deciding how to use it as a part of their practice given the sparse information they have regarding the drug at their disposal. 

Even doctors who are asked to write medical prescriptions for medical marijuana say that they are uncomfortable doing so since they don’t feel as if they have enough information to provide their patients with the best advice possible. Some are also worried about crossing the border into federal territory and getting into trouble for not closely following laws that they may not even completely understand in the first place.

In some states, doctors are addressing the knowledge gap by attending classes and obtaining continuing education credits about medical marijuana. Some key focuses include how the drug interacts with other drugs as well as the central nervous system and potential side effects that some patients may experience. The training is also important to help patients feel comfortable coming to their doctors with questions about using medical marijuana and developing a patient-doctor rapport. No patient wants a doctor who is not knowledgeable enough to answer simple questions about a common drug, let alone one who will prescribe that medication without fully understanding how it works in the body or what effects it may cause.

Some states even have certification courses for doctors who wish to prescribe medical marijuana. The courses cover several hours of material and may carry a fee. Some states require coursework approved by the American Medical Association while others may merely encourage doctors to seek out information in order to become more competent and confident about prescribing medical marijuana. While the majority of doctors do seem to agree that at least some training is required in order to provide patients with the best medical advice possible, some experts worry that by keeping the training optional many physicians will simply opt out and then not be prepared to prescribe medical marijuana at all. Doctors who do engage in some sort of training alter their practices to prescribe more medical marijuana when appropriate, in most cases. 

Until marijuana is no longer classified as a schedule I drug (similar to heroin), the regulations put into place by the Drug Enforcement Agency will continue to make it difficult to thoroughly test the drug for its many medical uses. Without enough data to back up the usefulness of marijuana, many doctors will continue to be reluctant to prescribe it no matter what. 

Marijuana versus Heroin

Heroin is, obviously, worse for you than marijuana

One of the most common yet erroneous comparisons made regarding pot is with the hard street drug heroin. Even though Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenburg clearly told the public that “heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana,” after decades of smear campaigns against pot it has been difficult for the public to accept this revelation as fact.

The truth of the matter is that marijuana is one of the least dangerous drugs, yet everyone from government bodies to scared individuals continue to label it as a drug as dangerous as LSD or heroine, which is simply not true. In fact, research indicates that marijuana is safer to use than many legal substances, such as alcohol and tobacco. In terms of dosage, marijuana has the lowest risk of mortality among drugs like cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, tobacco and alcohol.

Heroin and marijuana are vastly different drugs. Although politicians like to clump marijuana in with drugs like heroin and cocaine, which kill over 17,000 people annually, in reality prescription drugs have resulted in much more harm than marijuana use. In fact, researchers are hard-pressed to even link marijuana use to accidental overdose or death, which is due to the fact that it is side effects from weed use and not the drug itself that usually, causes harm. Weed can have an impact on lung health, mental health and your heart rate, but marijuana-related deaths are typically attributed to behavior engaged in during drug use (such as driving) and not the drug itself. 

In terms of addiction, heroin is much worse than marijuana. While it is always possible to become addicted to marijuana, research indicates that only around 9% of marijuana users become addicted to the substance.  Although it is very unlikely to become addicted to heroin after using the drug only once, it remains a much more addictive substance than marijuana. About 23% of users become fiercely dependent on the drug. Unlike marijuana, heroin use can also lead to contracting infectious diseases given that many users are apt to share needles with one another. 

While no marijuana-related deaths may be reported during a given year, that same year will unfortunately report over 25,000 people dying from prescription drug use, prompting people to  not only demand that pot stop being labeled as one of the most dangerous drugs, but to replace its membership in that particular club with prescription opioids instead.

 Alcohol is to blame for even more deaths, with over 30,000 people dying in a year from alcohol use, not counting vehicular accidents involving the substance, which would more than double that number. If the government wishes to compare heroin to any other dangerous substance, they might want to begin with these perfectly legal substances instead of comparing apples to oranges.

There are some very minor similarities between marijuana and heroin, such as both drugs impacting the lungs, but they still widely differ enough to not make them similar substances overall. While marijuana may cause some daily cough, susceptibility to lung infection and phlegm production, heroin can create blockages in blood vessels and actually suppresses breathing through hypoxia, which can lead to a coma, permanent brain damage and death. 
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director Drug Policy Alliance, says that the DEA needing to issue such a statement in the first place proves how out of touch with current research and science the department is. The fact that the statement was made that pot is not the same as heroin proves that the government is severely behind in the times and should revaluate its stance on marijuana overall.