On his wonderfully fair and balanced show on Thursday, Bill O’Reilly was nice enough to highlight our Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users list. He then started on a long rant, joined by his co-hosts, about the evils and deadly health risks associated with using marijuana. Apparently, these folks didn’t quite get the message.
O’Reilly seems to think that MPP just wants everyone to use marijuana, and that the organization “devotes its life to trying to convince you to get stoned and inebriated.” What he fails to understand, and what many supporters of prohibition refuse to believe, is that marijuana reform is not about getting high. It is about changing our obviously failed policies that put non-violent adults in jail while making it easier for young people to obtain. It is about changing the focus of law enforcement away from people who are already using marijuana and allowing police to focus on more serious crimes.
Papa Bear and friends also didn’t understand the message behind the list, which is that these influential marijuana users likely would not be where they are today had they been arrested for marijuana. How much human potential are we squandering when we arrest three quarters of a million people for marijuana possession every year, saddling them with a criminal record that limits their educational options and job opportunities?
After totally missing the point, the three pundits then proceeded to rattle off a long series of completely inaccurate and unsubstantiated talking points about how marijuana is deadly and will turn you into a zombie. They covered all the bases, too, from the debunked gateway theory to the “lazy stoner” myth.
It is really pretty sad, considering a brief look at MPP’s website would have clarified our mission for O’Reilly and provided all of them with actual scientific research on the effects of marijuana.
And we’re the lazy ones?
Here’s the video. Try not to throw anything through your screen.
According to a local news station, a New Mexico man who is registered with the state’s medical marijuana program was denied access to his medical marijuana, as well as any temporary replacement medication, while being held in the Dona Ana County Detention Center. The explanations offered by the detention center were confusing to say the least.
"[M]arijuana at this time is not approved to go into that facility,” said a spokesperson. “One of the reasons is when you smoke, whether it's tobacco or marijuana, everyone around you is smoking it, too.”
Ignoring the fact that there are multiple delivery methods for medical marijuana other than smoking, such as vaporization or ingestion, this argument makes no sense. Scientific studies have shown that second-hand contact with marijuana smoke has little to no effect on the body. (Anecdotally, probation and parole officers have long rejected the “I was at a party where people were smoking” defense for failed drug tests.)
Even if this were not the case, concessions for certain types of medication are made daily in the corrections system. For example, it could be dangerous to allow diabetic inmates to use hypodermic needles when in the company of other prisoners, but they are not denied access to their medicine. Instead, they are allowed to take their medication in a more secure and private location that does not present a danger to others.
The Dona Ana County Detention Center surely could have taken steps to make this happen. The staff must disagree with the voters of the state of New Mexico that marijuana is a legitimate medicine, since the policy of the detention center is that “if someone is detained and needs medications, we will make sure that they are properly medicated.”
According to the detainee, they did not. Even though they had his medicine in their possession, which they returned to him upon his release! Can someone please explain this?
Dona Ana County Detention Center (not to mention the detainee) is very lucky that the consequences of this incident were not worse. They very easily could have been, as they were for Jonathan Magbie, a paralyzed medical marijuana patient who died in a Washington, D.C. jail after being denied adequate medical attention.