Rogan On Pot

Rogan on Mary Jane

You know what? Even though I don’t use marijuana and don’t have much of a desire to try it, I can’t think of many good reasons why it should be illegal. Studies suggest that it is much safer than either cigarettes or alcohol (like the meme says), so I guess I don’t have much to say about this one…

Except for this: it might not be accurate to say that marijuana has a zero-body-count. Joe Rogan is undoubtedly referring to the oft-cited statistic that deaths from pot overdoses are virtually unknown, although “family-oriented” websites like this one claim that while reefer may not kill by overdose, there may be other ways for weed to do you in. The article cites three case studies in which healthy teenagers suffered strokes due to dangerous blood pressure drops following marathon weed binges. They argue that other weed-related deaths may be underreported, perhaps because of weed’s reputation as a “harmless” drug.

It’s hard to know who to believe. Pretty much every website that even mentions pot has an agenda one way or the other; finding neutral statistics on cannabis-related injuries and deaths is nigh impossible. In the end, neither side is likely to budge from their position; ergo the issue of weed’s non-lethality remains controversial.

In any case, the coconut statistic is most likely utter bunk invented as a baseline for comparison with other unlikely events, such as, say, being eaten by a shark, or so says The Straight Dope. There are no reliable figures for the number of people killed by falling coconuts each year.

So what are we to do with pot? Well, as I said before, I can’t see much of a reason for keeping it illegal (despite all the breathless warnings from conservative family groups), but pot-lovers do themselves no favors by using spurious statistics in support of their cause. If the pro-marijuana crowd really wants to build inroads with their conservative opponents, they’ll have to talk money: imagine all the revenue that can be generated from legalized cannabis sales.

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