There have always been groups of people, generally those who fall into the conservative category, who’ve disapproved of medical, recreational, or really any use at all of marijuana. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this matter, but a problem arises when people spout out an uneducated point of view that, in spite of having no proof or reason behind it. seems to be formed with enough passion and spoken with enough conviction to sway others. This is the power of blind faith, and it causes people to form strong convictions that border on illogical and sometimes dangerous. It is one of the few tools still being used by certain media sources and political figures to combat progress toward sensible marijuana policy.
There are many conservative media personalities who despise marijuana but don’t seem to understand the plant or the reasons why it is used. Especially in the last two years, I have seen a string of obsessive hate-speech oriented segments targeting marijuana on outlets such as FOX News. However, generally speaking, I am pleased to see the 180 degree shift that we have been waiting for in the national and local news coverage overall regarding pot use. Even more exciting is the backlash that the witch-hunt tactics used against marijuana are causing.
Not only are there certain conservative politicians on the local and state levels who support medical and even recreational use, but there are also organizations such as Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP) who are, as the name would suggest, against the use of marijuana being treated as a criminal act. These brave representatives, such as Texas State Rep. David Simpson, and organizations counter-balance FOX News and other outlets that continuously beat the prohibitionist drums.
One of the attacks on marijuana that stands out as a great example of backfire against the anti-marijuana side. The man responsible for this encounter was Bill O’Reilly of FOX News, but surprisingly someone was on the air to actually debate him this time around. O’Reilly’s theories focused on what he claimed were three major problems causing the younger generation and children to have major social problems: video games, marijuana and texting. Comparing the children of the United States to those in China, he said that the way China’s youth are raised creates discipline and competition and that America’s future generations will run a “weaker Nation” than those previous due to an obsession with escaping into drugs and technology and that anyone who tries to tell you differently was lying. Quite the bizarre hypothesis, even for someone as off-the-rails as O'Reilly.
Thankfully, Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University, saved the day by using data from his practice to counter O’Reilly’s assertions. O’Reilly claimed marijuana use was sky-rocketing amongst teens in America, which Hart argued by using the National Institute of Health’s comparison of surveys of 12th grade teens using marijuana between 1978 and 2014. The actual numbers drove a stake through the heart of O'Reilly's argument. What really made this episode memorable was O’Reilly promising his viewers he would check the numbers and report who was right on the next episode and then never delivering. As the marijuana juggernaut takes off, it is harder for the prohibitionists to defend their dogma - even when it's on their home turf.
If you look at most polls, even ones taken by conservative organizations, they are showing an overwhelming majority in favor of medical marijuana. We are winning. Peace on our Streets is around the corner. People are realizing that marijuana is a useful medicine that has been helping mankind for thousands of years. The conservatives are coming along slowly, but they are coming around. They are realizing that there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to marijuana. They were deceived with 'Reefer Madness' propaganda for so long, but it's starting to wea off. And when it does, we must be there with the plan with our model legislation so they can help us push in their state for Peace on our Streets!