Drug Czar Disinformation in Michigan

Oct 15, 2008

drug czar, Medical Marijuana, Montel Williams, ONDCP, science

Once again, the White House drug czar is on the road spreading disinformation at taxpayers' expense -- this time campaigning against Proposal 1, the Michigan medical marijuana initiative.

In a series of appearances in Lansing and the suburbs of Detroit, John Walters condemned the measure, as described by the Detroit Free Press:

LANSING -- A team of top national antidrug officials joined the late-starting campaign to defeat Michigan's medical marijuana initiative Tuesday, telling reporters Proposal 1 is a dangerous drug legalization scheme that will lead to more addiction and despair.

John Walters, a Michigan native who heads the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said marijuana has no legitimate medical use. Medical marijuana laws simply "make it easier for addicts to stay addicted," he said.

Walters brought with him -- really, I am not making this up -- a medical marijuana vending machine seized from a dispensary in Los Angeles earlier this year. It took three military guys to cart the thing around. And of course, Walters simply ignored the fact that Proposal 1 does not permit dispensaries, much less vending machines. Just how much did this exercise in irrelevance cost taxpayers?


Walters also ignored the emphatic statements from major medical organizations demolishing his claim that marijuana has no legitimate medical use. For example, in a detailed position paper issued earlier this year, the American College of Physicians, a 124,000-member organization consisting of oncologists, neurologists, and other internal medicine specialists, stated, "Evidence not only supports the use of medical marijuana in certain conditions but also suggests numerous indications for cannabinoids."

Finally, a word needs to be said about the claim that medical marijuana laws lead to "more addiction." In fact, no state with a medical marijuana law has seen an increase in teen marijuana use, and in most cases use has gone down markedly.

And medical marijuana actually allows patients to reduce the use of much more addictive opioid painkillers. Television host Montel Williams described this eloquently in a 2005 newspaper column. And research with animals has shown that cannabinoids in combination with drugs like codeine and morphine can produce equal or greater relief with lower doses of the narcotics while avoiding the development of tolerance, which can lead to addiction. Such combination therapy can even restore pain relief after the narcotics by themselves have lost efficacy due to tolerance.

The lies are coming thick and fast, so this is the time to get involved in the campaign.