It might often feel like it’s not worth getting down in the mud with anti-cannabis prohibitionists, given that engaging with their platform serves to bring it more attention. However, in the face of harmful exaggeration, sometimes it is worth exposing the sheer bizarre logic of an anti-cannabis claim.
Former New York Times reporter and current anti-cannabis campaigner Alex Berenson is the author of “Tell Your Children,” an anti-legalization book that details the supposed dangers of widespread marijuana use, most disturbingly upticks in psychosis and subsequent violence. Though Berenson’s book has many detractors, in the cannabis industry and in the scientific community (including some of the researchers whose work he cites extensively), he’s still regarded as an authority on the matter of legalization and its potential pitfalls.
He’s also an active Twitter user and a possible HBO subscriber. This last conjecture is based on the latest from his account, in which he compared the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl (subject of a popular new HBO miniseries) to the supposed scourge of cannabis.
Here’s the tweet:
Of course, there are obvious differences between the Chernobyl disaster and cannabis. One is a catastrophic accident that necessitated an infamous Soviet Union cover-up. The other one is a plant that the majority of Americans believe should be legal to buy, sell and consume. But the points of similarity are worth breaking down, if only because Berenson raised them.
First, there’s the assertion that the “dangerous burned airborne particles” from a nuclear disaster and cannabis consumption are comparable. While secondhand marijuana smoke isn’t something you’d necessarily want to be breathing in, its impact seems to be an as an irritant at worst with negligible effect on the environment as a whole — unlike the dangerous burned particles from Chernobyl, which were highly carcinogenic and whose environmental impact is felt in Pripyat and the surrounding area to this day.
Then, there’s the assertion of fertility damage. While some studies have indicated that cannabis can damage sperm count, others have … Read more:
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