Medical Marijuana Makes Media Mangle Math

Long ago, I swiped a line I read in someone’s email signature line that states, “Marijuana is unique in its ability to addle the brains of those who do not use it.” One collective set of brains in particular—the media—seems to be most addled in one particular subject, mathematics.  Otherwise, how can we explain such reefer mad stories as:

Report: two dozen doctors recommended 34,000 Arizona medical marijuana cards. (Arizona Daily Star, 11/13/2014)

This is a variation on a headline reported in Oregon, Colorado, Montana, and other medical marijuana states with a significant patient population. The public is supposed to be shocked that so-called “pot docs” are churning out medical marijuana recommendations like everybody’s-a-winner ribbons at a grade school swim meet.

Why it’s bogus: Many doctors who’d like to write a recommendation for medical marijuana can’t because the rules of their clinic, hospital, or insurance won’t let them. Others who could won’t because they fear stigma and backlash from other patients and doctors. So every medical marijuana state ends up with a few doctors who specialize. It’s no more surprising that a few doctors in the West write the majority of medical marijuana recommendations than a few doctors in the South perform the majority of abortions—there are few of them that can and will do it.

Oversight of Colorado medical marijuana doctors remains spotty (Denver Post, 8/25/2013)

This story added to the ongoing scare about too few doctors writing too many recommendations by adding a graphic showing how 94% of Coloradoans getting a medical marijuana card are getting it for chronic pain. The public is supposed to be shocked that so many people are getting cards for what must be a lot of faked pain.

Why it’s bogus: The graphic also shows that 16% get medical marijuana cards for muscle spasms, 11% for severe nausea, and 8% for cancer, seizures, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and cachexia. You probably noticed that all adds up to 129%. See, patients can get medical marijuana for more than one condition. Do you suppose multiple sclerosis causes some pain? Maybe cancer is a bit painful? Regardless, why is pain so mocked? A recent survey showed 1 in 5 Americans battling constant pain, and that’s not including occasional arthritis or back pain.

Florida Medical Marijuana Opponents Prove Money Talks (Huffington Post, 11/5/2014)

Sue Rusche from National Families Inaction penned this opinion piece crowing about how the anti-marijuana side finally had some money to work with and thanks to the funding of TV ads, they were able to defeat the medical marijuana amendment in Florida. “Supporters raised more than $2.5 million for California’s Prop 215, the nation’s first medical marijuana initiative passed in 1996,” Rusche scribbles. “Opponents raised less than $35,000—a ratio of 71 to 1. That pattern continued until this year in Florida.”

Why it’s bogus: Rusche is playing Kevin Sabet’s latest “David vs. Goliath” talking point, this idea that we’ve got Soros’ / Lewis’ millions to push legalization and the poor, underfunded cops, rehabbers, and parents’ groups have mere pennies. This talking point ignores David’s Death Star, the federal government that has pumped hundreds of millions into anti-drug ads, has funneled millions to local anti-drug groups for anti-marijuana “education,” and has spent 40 years enforcing marijuana prohibition at the barrel of a gun.

Furthermore, Florida requires 60% to pass a constitutional amendment. So, whoopee, the anti-pot forces got $5 million of billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s money to air scary ads about medical marijuana that dropped what had been 88% poll support for medical marijuana down to a 58% percent vote. They spent all that money to find out that a huge majority of Floridians support wide-open, for-any-condition medical marijuana. In a mid-term election where few young people vote. In the South.

By the way, did you know Sheldon Adelson is a huge funder of medical marijuana research in Israel?

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