IT'S ELECTION SEASON! Never mind that the general election is 13-plus months away. As the 370 Republican candidates for el presidente have shown, now is the time to convince voters who is the best person for the job.
As of this writing, no candidate has come out in favor of full federal legalization of cannabis. There has been talk about "examining" the issue, which is akin to your parents saying, "we'll see" about a new bike, puppy, or trip to Disneyland. Populist candidate Bernie Sanders has made the most noise, and he should wholeheartedly embrace it—just imagine the potential for new images on his "Feel the Bern" T-shirts.
For now, though, we're going to look at remarks made on cannabis during the most recent Republican Presidential Primary Debate. If you managed to stay awake for all 17 hours of it (you probably weren't smoking an indica), you may recall an exchange that started when Kentucky Senator and poodle/human hybrid Rand Paul brought up the fact that Jeb Bush had smoked cannabis in 1975, saying: "There is a prominent example on this stage of someone who says they smoked pot in high school and yet the people going to jail for this are often poor people, often blacks and Hispanics, and yet the rich kids who use drugs aren't."
Fact check analysis: Rand is correct. Rich white people get a pass regarding cannabis (and all other) offenses, compared to people of color.
Carly "HP Was Like That When I Got There, You Guys" Fiorina then chimed in, saying, "My husband... and I buried a child to drug addiction... we are misleading young people when we say that marijuana is like having a beer."
Fact check analysis: Fiorina's stepdaughter Lori died at age 35, and in her autobiography Fiorina attributes the death to a combination of alcohol, prescription pills, and bulimia. While no one should have to live through the death of a child, there's no excuse to cast blame where it is not warranted. Cannabis played NO role in Lori's death. A strong argument can be made that introducing her to cannabis could have helped with the three contributing factors of her demise. Meanwhile, here are some depressing facts:
Alcohol is responsible for one in 10 deaths of working-age adults, per a 2014 study from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Prescription pill deaths more than quadrupled from 1999 to 2011, hitting 17,000, according to the CDC. And they admit, "The numbers we're seeing are definite underestimates."
Number of deaths from cannabis use: zero.
It would have been nice to hear Fiorina address alcohol and prescription pill use and abuse, but Big Pharma and alcohol producers contribute more to the GOP than the cannabis industry does.
So, in the coming months, set your bullshit detector to "kill." Enough with the lies about cannabis—if you hear something that doesn't add up, say something.