CNS News posted a very interesting article today. The article asks the question, “Why No Warning Label on Marijuana?” That is a fascinating question. The government puts warning labels on everything–my hairdryer reminds me not to use it in the shower, my iron reminds me that it can get hot, the coffee I buy at Dunkin’ Donuts (I did live in Massachusetts for a very long time) tells me on the cup that the contents may be hot. So why is marijuana exempt from big daddy government?
The article reports:
The best known warning label, of course, is the one that the United States Surgeon General has required on cigarette packs since 1966. Also well-known is the warning label on alcoholic beverage containers, which states that drinking alcohol during pregnancy may cause birth defects, that people should not drink and drive, and that alcohol may cause other health problems.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana is “the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.” According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “marijuana is a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug.”
The Surgeon General’s 1996 report entitled “Facing Addiction in America” describes marijuana as one of the “addictive drugs.”
Likewise, marijuana is not safe.
Despite all the recent changes in many state laws over the last five years and the massive public advocacy and lobbying of the emerging multi-billion-dollar marijuana industry, the FDA has not changed its position on marijuana but continues to hold that it “has not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug for any indication.” Now, within the last nine months, two new reports on the dangers of marijuana have been issued.
So why are reports of the dangers not resulting in warning labels?
The article contains on example of the warning that would be appropriate for marijuana:
WARNING. Using cannabis can lead to the development of schizophrenia, other psychoses and other mental-health problems. Cannabis can cause hallucinations, delusions, and panic attacks. Cannabis can cause an increase in suicide ideation and suicide attempts. Smoking cannabis can worsen respiratory infections and bronchitis episodes. Using cannabis can lead to an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes. Maternal cannabis smoking is associated with the lower birth weight of babies.
The crusade against cigarettes included both warning labels and an extensive public-education campaign. Today, public education about marijuana consists in emphasizing that legalized marijuana will supply both “jobs and taxes.”
The usual answer to the type of question the article asks is ‘follow the money.’ In this case, it seems that many states are more interested in the tax money they will receive from the legalization of marijuana than the damage it will cause to the people using it. I don’t object to the legitimate use of marijuana for medical purposes, but if you look at the ads in the back of the newspaper in states where medical marijuana is legal, you quickly realize that an unethical doctor can write a prescription for marijuana to cure an ingrown toenail. There are so many areas where the government interferes to ‘protect’ Americans, it is interesting that the government chooses to remain silent about a danger that is rapidly becoming socially acceptable.