Fear mongering has become the preferred tactic of cannabis prohibitionists, and “fentanyl-laced marijuana” is the new buzz word used for deterring people from trying cannabis.
We have talked countless times about the likelihood of cannabis getting legalized in the US in the next year or two and what that would mean for the rising cannabis industry. Many people will be thrilled once this happens as America is recording never before seen levels of support for the legalization.
What we haven’t talked about as much is that the smaller part of Americans won’t be thrilled once weed goes legal. The “other” 38% we rarely even mentioned has so far mostly consisted of old conservatives.
As time goes on, we’ll see less and less resistance from the “old guard”. But, as for now, we’re seeing a lot of resistance in the wake of the talks about legalizing marijuana at the federal level.
Pushback from the White House
Ever since President Trump got elected, marijuana has been a hotly debated topic. At one point, he even openly said he supports medical marijuana and that he “thinks it should be legal”.
One could say that Trump did a lot for the future of marijuana by having a public fallout with his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The current AG, William Barr, who stepped in to fill the role, is on the “right side of history” as he recently openly said and signed documents confirming he won’t go after states with legal cannabis programs.
At one point in 2018, news leaked of the White House having a Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee which was supposed to “counteract positive marijuana messages and identify problems with state legalization initiatives”.
At the time it seemed that Trump had two opposing sides fighting for power over influencing his opinion of marijuana legalization.
On one side, we had a group focused around Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Blumenauer.
On the other side—Kellyanne Conway, Jeff Sessions, Cocaine Mitch and the rest of the old-school, hard-stuck Republicans such as Orrin Hatch.
The rise of Fentanyl
In 2016, Fentanyl became the 218th most prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 2 million prescriptions. Xanax, for comparison, held the 19th spot on the same list, with around 27 million prescriptions.
2017 was the year it all changed for Fentanyl, as that’s when it really became the big, bad wolf. From what we know, the global craze and the start of fear mongering could be all contributed to this photo.
The photo was published on several outlets after PEI police first posted the comparison of a lethal dose of heroin, Fentanyl and Carfentanil. Once the public saw the minuscule doses needed for a lethal overdose, it went wild.
The anti-marijuana collective fighting against the legalization saw the opportunity to jump onto the fr(e)ight train, pun intended.
A few months later, Trump officially announced the opioid crisis as a public-health emergency and called it one of the biggest threats to the American people.
Persistent fear mongering
According to Snopes, a fact-checking website, the claim that fentanyl-laced marijuana use is growing in America is totally made up. However, what’s not made up is the harming rhetoric many high-ranking Republicans are making in regards to it.
Kellyanne Conway is serving as a counselor to the president in the current administration, but more recently she’s been filling the “leader of the fear mongering squad” role.
Just a few days ago she addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and in her speech she falsely claimed that Fentanyl is being pushed onto unaware users.
“Fentanyl is an instant killer, and a tiny little grain of it can wipe us out,” Conway said to Fox News. “And it’s being laced into marijuana, heroin, meth, cocaine, and street drugs.”
Sure, Fentanyl does sometimes find its way to the unknowing drug users. However, the myth that it is being laced into marijuana is just straight up untrue.
The one group of people that have mostly seen issues with Fentanyl being laced into are one that use much heavier drugs – primarily heroin, meth and other drugs that can be injected or snorted.
Another example of misleading information being passed down from the highest offices can be seen in the Sen. Rob Portman case. In 2017, he was falsely informed that the Ohio Police was finding fentanyl-laced marijuana. Ohio Police later refuted this information, but that didn’t stop Sen. Portman from saying that again almost a year later.
So far, President Trump hasn’t made any inclinations towards whether he will run again. If he does, marijuana legalization will simply have to be a part of his platform, as many potential candidates have already publicly endorsed it.