I get review copies of weed books on the regular, and they’re mostly of the “cultivation” or “cooking with” variety. Rarely do I receive what can charitably be deemed prohibitionist literature, as its producers must surely recognize the chances of converting me are on par with the rate of success of Westboro Baptist Church signup sheets at a gay pride parade.
Today, we are looking at a sad waste of tree pulp called Weed, Inc.: The Truth about THC, the Pot Lobby, and the Commercial Marijuana Industry. It is... a book. Of that much, I can assure you. But it’s badly written, filled with blatant falsehoods, ugly in both appearance and content, and exhibits a form of grandiose hysteria that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Tennessee Williams play, complete with hand-wringing and gothic dramatic stylings.
It’s written by Ben Cort, a recovering addict (good for him, in all seriousness) who spent a decade inside the drug and alcohol addiction treatment field and is now a consultant to that industry. (Is an industry that profits from treating those with “marijuana addiction” perhaps biased regarding cannabis?) Cort was part of the “No on 64” campaign in Colorado which opposed legalizing cannabis for adult use (again, thinking this cat may have a biased viewpoint), and after 64 passed, he was appointed to the board of directors of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).
Now we have a problem. SAM is the largest anti-cannabis-legalization group in the country, and last year Vice did a terrific piece on them that you should read.
Even though Cort is clearly not a fan of cannabis, he’s still “cool with it,” yo. His introduction begins, “I am not concerned with casual adult marijuana use. So long as kids don’t see you (and if they do, realize that it reduces their perception of risk, making them more likely to use before their brains are developed and causing them much more harm).”
So always hide your weed use from kids, as you always do with your alcohol use? Check.
Weed, Inc. then freefalls rapidly into what-the-fuckery. He states how “THC has few, if any, medicinal qualities,” then begins shouting about the “the Industry” and “the Lobby,” so it reads the way Glenn Beck talks.
The problem is, Cort’s facts are wrong. He asks us to consider that “30 percent THC is the norm in Colorado cannabis,” except a simple Google search shows that as of 2016, the average potency of Colorado cannabis sold in dispensaries was 17.1 percent, according to a study done by the state. He’s taken grainy screenshots and poorly framed black-and-white pictures of cannabis advertisements and plastered them throughout, with snarky quotes beneath. It’s like a zine produced on an honest-to-god mimeograph. It offended my sense of design, and I don’t have one. But I hate things that look bad, and this... this is bad.
Cort goes on to write, “The DEA in Florida told me that an ounce of wax would be worth over $8,000 there.” (“One seat on the redeye for Miami, please.”) He doesn’t like vaping, edibles, or concentrates, and don’t get him started on medical use.
So it’s obvious what Cort doesn’t like. What’s also obvious is that he’s very scared and wants you to be as well, but he waves around a tired and worn-out set of fears using the same discredited, disproven, racist, pro-big pharma arguments that just-say-no warriors have been parroting for decades. Cort really does seem to have a fair amount of fear in his heart. I felt sorry for him by the end, and hope he finds peace.
But that doesn’t absolve his book. The majority of Americans now favor the legalization of cannabis, and 46 states have either medical or recreational cannabis programs in place. Cannabis works. Its benefits are proven—we aren’t going back. Don’t like cannabis? Don’t partake. Just spare me your worthless, falsehood-filled, hypocritical rhetoric.
Weed, Inc. is fake news. More accurately, it’s propaganda and garbage.