America took a definite step backwards with the selection of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as attorney general—as in a step back towards the 19th century—but for the movement to end marijuana prohibition in America, soon-to-be Vice President Mike Pence could be just as big of a problem. Just look at the nonsense they’re peddling in Pence’s home state of Indiana.
The Hoosier State has some of the toughest drug laws in America. Mere possession of the tiniest scrap of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine; cultivating or possessing for sale more than 30 grams, just over an ounce, is a felony.
As governor, America’s most-loathed theatergoer has spent more energy and political capital punishing gay people for being gay than cracking down any further on cannabis. There’s no need to bother, when he has local police forces concocting wild, Reefer Madness-worthy claims—like the out about the 5,000-milligram lollipop.
Police in Noble County, Indiana—a rural area about 70 miles southeast of South Bend, the closest city of any kind—recently issued an alert via Facebook regarding “suspicious lollipops” discovered at a local high school.
“Preliminary tests and investigation… indicated some cherry flavored lollipops were indeed laced with marijuana,” the Noble County Sheriff Department wrote. “The early indication is that the THC levels are more than likely of a higher concentration than from normal marijuana, therefore giving them the potential for a stronger ‘high’ when consumed.”
The lollipops were sent to the state police crime lab for testing—sent in the labeled packaging from which it was originally bought, apparently in a legal Michigan dispensary, on which the THC content was printed—but in the meantime, local media have gone on the alert.
According to local television station WANE, based in Fort Wayne, the lollipops are strong enough to turn a good kid crazy.
“Typically, edibles can contain anywhere between 70 and 100 percent of THC,” the TV station reported. “Marijuana has just 17 to 30 percent.”
As Reason’s Jacob Sullum pointed out, the claims are not only laughable, they are demonstrably false—something anyone can demonstrate using the police’s own Facebook post.
First, edibles are food products, be they cookies, cakes, candies or string cheese. Food mostly contains fat, salt, sugar—you know, food. In order to create an edible that was 70 to 100 percent THC, you would have to create an edible that was composed entirely or nearly entirely of super-concentrated hash oil or pure crystalline THC— in other words, not an edible at all.
As it is, the lollipop’s packaging points out that it contain no more than 50 milligrams of THC, hardly 70 to 100 percent.
But why let facts get in the way of baseless fearmongering? Jerri Lerch, of the Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium, take it away.
“A really strong overdose of marijuana acts very much like a psychotic episode,” Lerch told the station. “People get agitated and do some crazy things.”
And it just gets wilder from there.
For good measure, Lerch added that the “drug dealers” pushing the suckers used social media in order to find customers that could easily be hooked on THC-laced lollipops for life, because “the sooner a young person begins using an addictive substance, the longer they will have lifelong product sales.”
Kids who fall victim to marijuana’s sweet siren song, Lerch added, “are three times less likely to graduate high school, two-and-a half times less likely to go to college, and four times as likely to not finish college.”
Suffice to say that none of this is grounded in reality.
We suspect Lerch is referring to the study published in the Lancet that found kids who smoked marijuana daily were 60 percent less likely to finish high school, and either misunderstood it or deliberately misinterpreted it for effect.
And as for the addiction claims: Since researchers posit no more than nine percent of cannabis users become dependent, not addicted, it’s fair to posit that they were manufactured out of whole cloth.
This is the kind of stuff that passes as fact in a state gone mad, led by the man who is soon to be next-in-line for the presidency. If any of these homespun “facts” reach Mike Pence’s mind and lips during a Trump administration cabinet meeting, we’re in for a long four-to-eight years of nonsense.
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