Last we checked, the job of police officers was to enforce local law for the good of the community. But apparently some cops in Utah are working overtime, making it part of their duty to collect and present one-sided and blatantly untrue facts about cannabis health effects.
In opposition to a possible medical cannabis legalization bill in the state, local law enforcement made a presentation at a recent town hall meeting in the Bonneville Salt Flats area, telling area citizens that medical cannabis would cause intellectual disabilities, impotence, and death in their community, as reported by the Standard Examiner.
Presenting the community with over two dozen slides, Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson and Riverdale Police Lt. Casey Warren made a presentation that made D.A.R.E. look unbiased and scientific.
Among the gems offered to locals was an anecdote about a teen prodigy whose IQ was somehow cut in half by using marijuana. Thompson said that one of his neighbors told him “recently in tears” that she “worked with a 15-year-old who tested just on the borderline of genius, just a great kid. He decided to hang out with the wrong kids and started going down the wrong path … down that marijuana road. Within a year, they couldn’t get this kid to hardly test above a 70 IQ. It was just sad.”
Sad, indeed. Especially since the only way the story is true is if it skipped over the part where this teen genius suffered a severe head trauma. A local neuroscience professor in the crowd did a nice job of respectfully calling this story bullshit. “I respect the hard work that the officers have done, and really appreciate the work that they’re doing. But I was troubled by the presentation of things as facts that may not be facts,” Jim Hutchins said. “I understand that’s someone’s reality and the way they see the world. … It’s just not my reality as a neuroscientist.”
Almost as egregious was a story Warren told about how his brother’s casual marijuana use led to a heroin overdose. Though some people who abuse heroin may try weed first, a causal relationship between the two has never been proven. In fact, there is evidence that states which implement legal cannabis programs see a decrease in opioid use.
Equally misleading (and potentially damaging to the community) were Thompson’s claims that cannabis increases the risk of cancer (it doesn’t, as far as we know, and is actually effective in treating cancer in some cases) and that cannabis has no medical benefits (tell that to children suffering from severe epilepsy).
He also made sure to mention that cannabis increases the risk of impotence, gum disease, and depression. We’re sure it made a hell of an impact on the overwhelming majority of Utah residents who support marijuana legalization.
Photo via Flickr user Martijn