The United Kingdom is known for having a notoriously regressive position on medical and recreational marijuana, but the country’s Prime Minister Theresa May took the hysteria over the herb to new levels recently when linking it to heroin use and suicide in an interview.
The Conservative PM was taking part in an ITV News-run interview broadcast on Facebook Live and was queried about cannabis by a woman who credits it for relieving her anxiety symptoms.
Unfortunately, May didn’t have a moment of marijuana enlightenment, and if anything came across agitated that it was cannabis which had made the woman better. May seemed unaware and certainly didn’t mention any of the medicinal properties about cannabis – which are now undeniable. Instead, she just rambled on about marijuana causing mental health disorders and, yes, eventually suicide. Reefer madness at its most absurd.
Of course, the foundation of May’s argument was not scientific, but based on the story of a woman whose twin sons became addicted to heroin, one of them ultimately committing suicide. Since the sons’ initial dance with drugs was with cannabis, the plant is, as it has for decades being blamed as a gateway drug, and the primary cause of the users’ hard drug addictions.
May did acknowledge that studies were being conducted on the “derivatives” of the plant but said that she wouldn’t support legalization due to the supposed “impact” it has on people and because of the strength of the strains that are around today.
The PM added that she thought cannabis could have a detrimental impact on mental health, and that it can act as a stepping stone to hard drugs – again, guilt by association.
As hard-line as these comments seem from an American perspective, cannabis scaremongering still reigns supreme across the pond. Newspapers have consistently run deceptive stories about cannabis, with the tabloid press – or, in other words, trash publications – most culpable of all. Strong cannabis is often smeared as “skunk,” with pot opponents then connecting its use to severe mental health disorders and other addictions. The same old story.
Cannabis lies continue
It is more wrong for May to refer to cannabis as a gateway drug in 2018 than it ever has been before. To suggest that it leads to heroin addiction is the exact opposite from what the science says. In reality, cannabis and especially CBD prodcuts are helping people to wean themselves of extremely addictive drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl and other opiate-based drugs.
Opioid addiction and overdose rates are through the roof America, but the states with legalized medical and recreational marijuana are managing the problem better than those without it.
Indeed, if May had actually researched the studies on marijuana and suicide, she would have discovered that states with legal pot have actually overseen a decline in suicide rates in recent times. This data comes from a study featured recently in the American Journal of Public Health. In truth, if May had done her homework, she probably could have brought up cannabidiol (CBD), a non-hallucinogenic component of the cannabis plant that treats specific forms of child epilepsy.
There is some hope for cannabis in the UK, with the Liberal Democrats, the country’s third-biggest party, including cannabis legalization in their 2017 general election manifesto. The Lib Dems are a pro-European Union, centrist party that formed part of a coalition government with the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015. However, the party has experienced a seismic fall in public support over recent times, having been damaged by the second-fiddle role they played in government.
However, some Lib Dems feel the party is on the brink of a comeback, and if so, perhaps they could thrust the cannabis conversation into the national debate. As America has proven, marijuana is an issue that garners support from voters of all ages and political inclinations. It is estimated that cannabis legalization could bring £1 billion ($1.35 billion) annually into the UK’s tax coffers.