Hooray! Cannabis Is Now Stronger Than Heroin!
By James Collins
Have you heard? The crack team of scientists employed by Warrington Council has now declared that modern cannabis is stronger than heroin! You can throw out your pipes and vaporisers and go find yourself a nice dirty, used needle to start shooting your cannabis with. No sense wasting high-quality dope like that in a bong. You want this kind of high-potency shit to go right in the mainline! Tool me up, baby!
The last stalwart supporters of cannabis prohibition are making their final offensive in the twilight hours of prohibition. It’s like Civil Rights or Women’s Suffrage; the closer we get to the day change comes the louder and stupider the opponents of change become. In this case, without consulting somebody who might actually know something on the subject of pharmacology, a group of small-time local politicians has made the unilateral declaration that black is white.
My first response upon seeing this poster was to assume it was satire. It has to be a joke, right? Aside from the incredibly dated style of the artwork, giving a less-than-subtle nod to the anti-drug propaganda of the Nixon era in the United States, the message is so exaggerated that it delivers itself like spoof. The assertions made in this poster carry all the capacity for sensible discussion of two ten-year-old boys debating whether Superman or the Incredible Hulk is stronger. The claim begins so far past the line of reason you are dragged kicking and screaming into woo-woo-la-la territory to even engage it at face value.
Was that their nefarious plan from the outset? Are the members of Warrington Council such brilliant and devious propagandists that they plotted to change the terms of the public discussion surrounding cannabis in such a way as to render meaningful debate impossible? Are they borrowing a page from the American Republican Party and muddying the waters with hysterical nonsense with the intent to stifle progress and consensus which they find unfavorable?
It raises a whole mess of questions if you want to get paranoid about it. Maybe that’s just my heroin-grade-cannabis talking though, I do see in this recent publication on the subject that paranoia is to be expected in cannabis users. Then again, when the propaganda against cannabis users starts to resemble the kind of tripe that was released in the 1930’s on the same subject, it is perhaps not without reason to engage in a healthy awareness of one’s surroundings when smoking cannabis. While Reefer Madness may stand as one of the greatest comedic films of all time, we shouldn’t forget that it was intended as a serious public information tool at the time. The prohibition crowd has obviously lost sight of the program entirely, and I think they might be dangerous.
Word has it those wacky government types will abduct you, beat you up, and detain you for a prolonged period if they catch you with weed. They’re stark raving mad!
This isn’t entirely isolated, and can be seen as part of a trend. The prohibition lobby has lost a lot of ground in the war on weed in recent months and years, and they seem to be launching a more aggressive attack on all fronts to regain ground. Even the most mainstream science is swinging in favor of cannabis. Two states in the U.S.A., ground-zero for the prohibition movement, are regulating and taxing recreational cannabis! To counter that reality the weed-is-evil crowd are resorting to mud-slinging and fanciful nonsense.
To directly address the claim that cannabis is as strong as heroin: Everybody knows that Superman and the Incredible Hulk are part of different fictitious universes and the two cannot be compared in any objective way. Cannabis and opium based drugs bond to different receptor sites and affect the body in entirely different ways. It isn’t even an apples and oranges kind of comparison. Those things are both fruit. We’re comparing apples and poisonous spiders to hold cannabis of any kind up to heroin. Heroin is a dangerous, synthetically potent chemical compound extracted from the opium plant and refined down to a toxic level of purity. Heroin is chemically addictive and causes serious physical withdrawal symptoms after even short-term regular use, a biological reaction which can be fatal. Cannabis is a plant that gets picked, dried, and smoked in its existing form. While potentially habit-forming, like all enjoyable things for people who have impulse control problems, cannabis has no chemically addictive properties which threaten the user’s health and welfare if the habitual pot smoker ceases consumption.
Cannabis and heroin have completely different outcomes from consumption. One does not find cannabis users sharing dirty needles in a dark alley in the midst of an HIV epidemic because their chemical dependence has completely overwhelmed their powers of reason. Cannabis stimulates appetite, eases anxiety and depression, and makes life seem more enjoyable and funny. Heroin makes you half-comatose, represses emotional response, and generally defeats both libido and appetite while disrupting digestive function.
Just find a recovering heroin addict and ask them if Sweet Lady H occupies the same postal code as reefer.
It didn’t really need to be said, did it? Nobody is debating “safe bong sites” for desperate and sick cannabis addicts who line the streets of the decaying inner cities. Nobody is admitting anyone to emergency treatment for cannabis withdrawal sickness because they are at risk of heart attack and stroke during those first few shaky days. Nobody who is even strongly opposed to cannabis use is seriously forwarding anything but the fallback psychosis claims which are based on the most nebulous statistical evidence and a lot of anecdotal red herrings.
If the prohibition lobby wants to take this approach, abandon the auspice of sensibility or restraint and just jump right into comedic overstatements, it does us all a favor. This kind of effort can only be symptomatic of a movement which is dying from lack of support or supporting evidence with which to win more followers.
Quite delightfully, the post was removed from their website by the Council after a deluge of angry emails and snide comments posted publicly. NORML UK was quoted in a newspaper article concerning the matter about how this sort of propaganda is “dangerous and irresponsible”. It does appear that people are not willing to shut up and take this kind of blatant disinformation with quiet good humor. It shows that as desperate as the forces of prohibition are these days, the advocates of cannabis are even more determined and organized.
This whole three-ring circus act is a nice synopsis of how the war on drugs is going. Prohibitionists make wild, unfounded claims about cannabis, and the public responds with intolerance for their dishonesty. The War on Drugs is lost. It’s over. These goofy propaganda efforts are just the last few jerking motions of a dying body.
Stick a fork in it – Prohibition is done.
James Collins is a Canadian blogger, author and activist.