I mean, come on. This one is idiotic, even for conservatives.
Yeah, you don’t want to get between me and a bowl of blueberry granola when I’m high, as I will unequivocally assert my inalienable right to those sweet, sweet oats, but there’s no chance I’m going to get violent over it.
But Miranda Devine, a columnist for the New York Post, thinks she’s cracked America’s mass-shooting epidemic. The answer, of course, is reefer madness.
Because, you know, hippies.
Don’t worry about incendiary language from the pr*sident, or resurgent white supremacism, or the fact that it’s literally easier to purchase a military-style weapon than a lawn dart in this country.
Oh no. It’s legal weed!
[I]n all honesty, we cannot rule out a connection between increasing marijuana use, mental illness and the recent spate of mass shootings by disturbed young males.
We don’t yet know much about the mental state or drug use of the El Paso or Dayton killers. But a former girlfriend of Dayton killer Connor Betts, 24, has indicated he was mentally ill, and two of his friends interviewed by reporters this week mentioned his previous drug use.
To be fair, there appears to be some sort of link between marijuana use and schizophrenia, but it’s not entirely clear which way the causal arrow points. Is marijuana triggering schizophrenia, or are people with a predisposition for the condition more apt to use cannabis? In fact, one study found that tobacco use is a significant predictor for the later development of schizophrenia. Does that mean it’s actually causing the condition? I really don’t know, but my guess is — no.
Devine also cites Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Violence and Mental Health, a book by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, in order to pin what appear to be temporary spikes in crime on demon weed.
Berenson reports that the first four states to legalize marijuana, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, have seen “sharp increases” in violent crime since 2014.
Oh, that’s a neat trick. Until you see that violent crime has spiked across the country.
Journalist Jesse Singal addressed this argument in a January column for New York magazine.
At root, Berenson’s fishiest move is his choice of 2014 as a baseline year. “Nothing interesting happened with regard to pot in 2014,” said Mark Kleiman, a drug expert and public-policy professor at NYU who has himself urged caution over marijuana-legalization Pollyannaish-ness, in an email, “but there was a national uptick in homicide in 2015–2016.”
Plenty of states, carried along by the nationwide trend, saw increases in violent crime, whatever their pot laws. And as Kleiman noted, there’s no reason to pick 2014 as a year for examining the four states in question. While Alaska and Oregon did officially legalize marijuana then, Colorado and Washington did so in 2012. And state pot-law histories tend to be more complicated than the dates of full legalization, anyway — in Alaska and Oregon …, it’s been decades since having small to moderate amounts of marijuana for personal use could lead to anything worse than a small fine. The idea that a state flipping over from a very liberal pot policy to a very liberal pot policy would lead to an immediate uptick in violent crime demands evidence that’s absent from Berenson’s column.
So, yeah, this is all nonsense. But we’ve seen a lot of that in conservatives’ attempts to absolve Donald Trump and the NRA from their sins.
Seriously. Weed. Don’t make me laugh.
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