Reefer Madness comes to Britain (again)

By Chris Bovey

We’ve seen a spate of Reefer Madness driven by the Daily Mail in the media over the last few weeks. There’s an election coming up and the Tories are vehemently sticking to anti cannabis rhetoric.

Respected journalist Jon Snow had a whitey after he took two very strong hits of cannabis prior to being enclosed in an MRI and compared the experience to being in a war zone. This little stunt caused as much laughter as it did incredulity amongst cannabis users, who suggested he do it again, but this time with a pizza listening to Bob Marley and perhaps a lower dosage.

Reefer madness from Jon Snow

Jon Snow has a whitey.

Then we have the Daily Mail’s sensationalist and misleading reporting suggesting that 24% of all psychosis cases are the fault of skunk.

The term skunk is of course meaningless; it’s simply a generic term originally from California for the first Afghani (Indica) crosses which had been crossed with Mexicans, Thai, Colombian and other pure Sativas. This cross-breeding to create skunk has been around since the 1900s. Yet the Reefer Madness media would have you believe skunk is a new form of cannabis that is 10 times more potent than the stuff David Cameron was smoking at Eton. I even read some suggestions that skunk is Genetically Modified cannabis, which is of course completely ludicrous.

The Reefer Madness always irritates informed people and cannabis consumers alike. It’s especially annoying, as far more people will read the Daily Mail’s propaganda than who will read the weed blogs, such as this one, that in general are preaching to the converted.

Perhaps the most preposterous of the latest round of Reefer Madness is from Daily Mail hack, Peter Hitchens, who has attempted to link terrorism to cannabis. Hitchens has found out that the Copenhagen killer, Omar El-Hussein, had twice been arrested for cannabis possession, so chipped in with an opinion piece complaining that the authorities and most of the media had not noticed the link between cannabis and wanton acts of terrorism blowing up innocent civilians. Yes I know, it’s so stupid, I can’t believe I’m even writing about it.

Did you know that Osama Bin Laden was once stopped for speeding in Pakistan? I hope Mr Hitchens will campaign for more speed cameras as the link between terrorism and speeding is just so obvious, it’s a scandal nothing is done about this for our protection against the terrorist threat.

Seriously though, I think Peter Hitchens gets a kick out of winding up stoners. Every time he writes a rant about cannabis it’s click bait for thousands of stoners who will share the Daily Mail’s web site, in turn making the Daily Mail’s advertisers happy with all the extra traffic.

Whether Peter Hitchens seriously believes the rubbish he writes, I don’t know, I’ve never met the man and don’t want to, although I’m told from other colleagues working in the field of drug law reform that he’s a surprisingly charming and affable chap.

OK Peter, we get it, you don’t like cannabis, fair play to you. My mother doesn’t like cannabis either, however she was born in 1938, is teetotal and never uses the F word. But linking cannabis usage to terrorism … seriously?

The question is, how to respond to the Reefer Madness campaign. Do we ignore them or do we encourage discussion by sharing their articles on social media. This is something I do not know the answer to. What I am pretty certain of is that most people would not agree with Peter Hitchens’ implication that if you smoke a joint you are likely to get on a plane to the Middle East and join an ISIS training camp.

Perhaps we should take heart that these ridiculous attacks are scraping the bottom of the barrel rather than confronting us with evidence based facts. There’s an election coming up so I expect we’ll see much more Reefer Madness in the coming weeks. I hope the Greens and the Lib Dems, who both support cannabis law reform, do not chicken out and remain vocal in opposing the populist unscientific garbage coming from the Tories and the right-wing media on the issue of cannabis.

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