By: Cindy Dahlgren, Communications & Media Specialist
All it took to start peeling back the cover on marijuana’s dark side was a curious, open mind. Alex Berenson’s wife is a forensic psychiatrist who often spoke of the link between marijuana use, mental illness, and violent behavior she saw in her line of work. Berenson, a former New York Times reporter and novelist, decided to put on his investigative journalism hat and get the facts. Shocked at what he discovered, Berenson now travels the country sharing a dark truth many do not want revealed.
This week Berenson brought his message to Scottsdale, revealing insights from his latest book, “Tell Your Children the Truth: About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence .”
In the summer of 2017, Joseph Hudek IV ate a few marijuana-laced gummies to put him to sleep for a long flight home. Within an hour, Hudek was screaming to get off the plane, lunging for the cabin door while in flight. He fought off flight attendants and managed to get the door handle open half way before one of the attendants broke a wine bottle over his head to stop him. Hudek had no criminal or mental illness history, and later acknowledge the affects of THC in his system (pg. 192).
Berenson tells real-life story after story in his book, but many don’t want to hear them or the statistics that back them up. “There is a cult around this drug like nothing I’ve ever seen as a journalist,” says Berenson. He spoke of an ideologically driven attempt to cover up the connection between high potency marijuana and psychosis.
A sampling of the evidence he unearthed and spoke about at the Scottsdale breakfast sponsored by Not My Kid:
- The National Academy of Science and Medicine found in 2017 that “Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychosis. The higher the use, the greater the risk.”
- A mountain of evidence that marijuana use can cause or worsen severe mental illness.
- Teens who use marijuana regularly are three times more likely to develop schizophrenia.
- “Psychosis drives violence,” says Berenson. People with mental illness who use marijuana are five times more likely to commit violent crimes than healthy people, and almost 20 times more likely to commit homicide.
- Marijuana use is associated with a disturbing number of child deaths from abuse and neglect. Many more than alcohol, cocaine, meth and opioids combined.
- THC use leads to more drug use, and does not help people get off opioids.
- Potency has skyrocketed. A joint in the 70s contained about 2% THC. Today, it’s up to 25% THC. The real trouble is in edibles, extracts, oils and concentrates, which have up to nearly 100% THC.
To learn more about the link between marijuana, mental illness, and violence, listen to CAP’s podcast with Alex Berenson .
What We’ve Learned From Other States
- Where recreational marijuana is legal, more people use it, including teens.
- Where recreational marijuana is legal, more people are killed in marijuana related traffic crashes. In Colorado, for example, marijuana related traffic deaths increased 109% after legalization.
- Where recreational marijuana is legal, more people end up in the hospital. Marijuana related hospitalizations rose 101% in Colorado after legalization
- Most of the 2,051 people who have suffered a mysterious lung disease (39 people died) were vaping THC products according to the CDC. The Center for Disease Control warns people not to vape THC at all.
There’s Nothing Smart or Safe About Recreational Marijuana
Marijuana industry insiders are, again, trying to convince Arizona voters to legalize recreational marijuana. The effort includes a deceitful ballot measure ironically titled, “Smart and Safe Arizona Act.” In addition to the negative consequences of marijuana use today, there are serious problems with the measure itself.
- There is nothing to discourage teen use. Most penalties are petty offenses that will likely go unenforced and will do little to deter violators. Teens caught with marijuana face more lenient consequences than underage drinkers.
- It does nothing to address stoned drivers. In fact the measure does away with current law prohibiting driving with marijuana in your system. And there is no reliable roadside testing to measure impairment like there is for alcohol.
- The ability to limit potency is misleading. The risk of over-consumption of THC is staggering when you consider the serving size. The measure sets an arguably high level of THC per serving. Also, one gummy is a serving. A tenth of a cookie is a serving. No one eats one gummy or a tenth of a cookie.
- The measure was written by the marijuana industry, for the marijuana industry, creating a monopoly for medical marijuana insiders. Two main donors to the initiative— contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars already—own 27 dispensaries in Arizona and stand to make a fortune by monopolizing the licenses.
- Only municipalities that don’t currently have a medical marijuana shop can ban retail pot shops. Conveniently, nearly all Arizona municipalities have at least one medical marijuana shop.
- Abortion activists have been misrepresenting CAP’s position on last session’s 211 crisis hotline. Some have falsely blamed Cathi Herrod for the lack of funding for the program. Read Cathi’s response in the Republic to find out what really happened.
- A federal judge struck down the Trump Administration’s rule protecting health care workers from opting out of controversial procedures – such as abortion or physician assisted suicide – if it violated their religious beliefs.
- The Trump Administration rolled back Obama regulation that forced faith-based adoption agencies to choose between their religious beliefs and federal funding.
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