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Journalists Lie About Marijuana Like it's Their Job

Submitted by smorgan on

Margaret Wente at The Globe and Mail writes:

The UK made marijuana possession semi-legal a few years ago, but experienced an explosion of pot use among minors, as well as a sharp rise in harmful effects attributed to more potent strains of weed.
She's just factually wrong. Here's what the Guardian says in an Oct. 2007 article entitled Fewer young people using cannabis after reclassification:
Cannabis use among young people has fallen significantly since its controversial reclassification in 2004, according to the latest British Crime Survey figures published today.

The Home Office figures showed the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who had used cannabis in the past year fell from 25% when the change in the law was introduced to 21% in 2006/07 - still about 1.3 million users.
Similarly, her claim that there's been "a sharp rise in harmful effects attributed to more potent strains of weed" is utterly false. There has been research suggesting that marijuana may increase the risk of certain mental illnesses, but there has been no increase in people actually developing those conditions. The idea that marijuana potency is a factor here is also purely theoretical and unproven. Here's what the Britain's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has to say:
"The evidence for the existence of an association between frequency of cannabis use and the development of psychosis is, on the available evidence, weak. The council does not advise the reclassification of cannabis products to Class B; it recommends they remain within Class C. [Telegraph]
There simply was no "explosion of pot use among minors" and no "sharp rise in harmful effects". Those things never happened, can't be cited, and don't belong in print. The article's flaws don't stop there either, but I want to focus on these points because they demonstrate reckless and presumably willful disregard for basic facts, rather than simple manipulation or selectivity. There's a difference in terms of journalistic ethics, and I think Margaret Wente forgot that.


Let's let The Globe and Mail know about these clear factual errors. It's easy:
Letters to the Editor - The editor of The Globe and Mail welcomes letters on any subject but reserves the right to condense and edit them. Brevity counts. All letters should be less than 200 words, and must include the name, mailing address and daytime phone number of the writer. The copyright becomes the property of The Globe and Mail if they are accepted for publication. You may also reach us by fax at 416-585-5085.
I know, I know, it feels like you're banging your head against a wall, but enough letters can provoke a response. Do it right now so you won’t forget.

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