But marijuana has become a political issue and it has fallen along predictable political lines; if you think cigarettes should be banned and marijuana legalized, I know how you vote. And therefore the people suddenly presenting nonsense statistics, dubious medical claims and sociological woo are seemingly doing it because they want to stick it to right wing people who are against pot. That's not science, people.
This past election, people predictably cheered when Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana - well not everyone. Colorado residents who are not part of the progressive majority want to secede and form their own state. They have some reasoning that goes beyond 'we are tired of telling people we are from Colorado and having someone assume we are leftover Freak Power voters from the 1972 McGovern campaign'. They have data and reason to debunk at least one of the 'scientization of politics' positions voters adopted - 'medical marijuana' was always a joke bolstered by junk science and wishful thinking.
Now that the election is well behind us, the New York Times is getting back to journalism and published an article by a psychiatrist and "lifelong partisan Democrat" warning Democrats that they should not become the Party of Pot. It's a good time to show some skepticism about the stuff - 18 states and Washington D.C. have laws for medical marijuana on the books.
But that Party of Pot ship sailed during the McGovern campaign of 1972. And science has been checked at the head shop door ever since. While medical marijuana was sold to states for serious illness, Edward Gogek, M.D., notes, it is not the case in practice. Instead, it is sold for 'pain' 90% of the time, which is a symptom so non-specific and subjective that Ferris Buehler got a whole day off school with it.(1) Nausea comes in second at 7.5%. And none of the numbers add up in practice either. While most people with clinical pain are women, three quarters of medical marijuana cardholders are men.
'Oh, I have glaucoma' is a running joke. If you didn't like when Republicans denied global warming and used dubious disproven claims, Gogek warns Democrats, you shouldn't be letting it go when marijuana is claimed to do something it does not do, like help with glaucoma, or that is it not addictive, when it clearly is.
It's not really medical marijuana, it was always recreational, and Gogek likens the subterfuge to when President George W. Bush tried to gut the Clean Air Act and replace it with the Clear Skies Initiative. See? Another Republican example. He is making a point that Democrats are supposed to be smarter and more critical thinking and science-y than Republicans - but marijuana shows they are not. Well, we all knew that, Science Left Behind does not take Democrats to task, it goes after progressives, but they all vote Democrat.
Here is his real ideological clincher and it has to send an icy chill through the hearts of social authoritarians - Democrats want to protect people from unhealthy products and use the force of government to do it, so it is hypocritical to cast off those same laws for something clearly unhealthy.
And what about the kids? Students who smoke pot
do worse in school, are twice as likely to drop out and earn less as adults. Teenage use has been shown to permanently lower I.Q.It can't be that all of those teachers voted Democrat and are also siding with making marijuana legal, but they are if they don't say something.
Gogek is a homeopath and holistic psychiatrist. Siding with him is as painful as siding with the argument that marijuana should not be legalized - but he is right just this once, because proponents are using the politicization of science to make a political desire sound evidence-based and they are abandoning the excuse that they use about every ban they endorse - that they want to protect people from unhealthy products. By all means legalize it if that is what those states want, but don't pretend it is medicine or science or data-driven or that it is not unhealthy. Just call it dangerous recreation, like alcohol and cigarettes.