Dear Pete – I Read Grace’s Story, now here’s my take on it
As I was doing some research on cannabis, trying to find interesting topics to write on, I stumbled on an angry and bias letter posted on the Daily Mail. Entitled “Read Grace’s Story then tell me you still think marijuana isn’t destroying our country”, I decided to do exactly what Peter Hitchens suggested.
I read through his rant and now, am here on Cannabis.net, explaining “why I still think marijuana isn’t destroying his country”.
Providing the Back Story
The story of Grace Spence Green is a sad one. The woman was paralyzed and is now confined to a wheelchair after a man (allegedly high on weed), jumped from the top story of the mall and landed on her.
Peter Hitchens blames cannabis for the tragedy and even though the 25 year old was suffering from mental disorders, he still believes that cannabis is the culprit – and not mental illness.
I’ll be now going through the rest of his letter and talk about specific points he mentioned and explain why this isn’t “the fault of cannabis” or anything similar. Secondly, we’ll touch on the concept relating “If cannabis (according to Hitchens) is so dangerous it merits prohibition, why aren’t we banning tobacco and alcohol which has a higher degree of lethality than cannabis?”
Let’s go through the letter point by point
“When will we ever learn just how much damage the unrestrained use of marijuana is doing to our society? When will we ever do anything about it, as wiser countries do?
I make no apologies for coming back to this subject, as I remain amazed by the growing support of ignorant politicians and media for the legalisation of this terrifying poison. If they get their way it will take us straight into a nightmare version of the third world, with all the misery but without all the sunshine.”
Firstly, which “wiser countries” is he referring to? Most modern/first-world countries are going the way of legalization. These enlightened countries he’s referring to, where cannabis is still strictly behind prohibited, tend to be places like North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Even previously, “hardcore prohibitionist countries in Asia”, those who would jail you for life for an ounce, are now starting to embrace cannabis.
The second thing this immediately shows us is that Peter Hitchens is a classist. What’s his definition of “3rd world?” Who is he referring to? Of course he won’t say, but for some reason, countries with friendly cannabis policies (Canada and the United States) are NOT wise countries and apparently 3rd world?
How did he know?
“Trawally, 25, was out of his mind on marijuana at the time. He tested positive for the drug, afterwards. But you will say, surely marijuana does not cause people to leap off high places, and land on innocents below, or it would happen all the time.
And I would agree with you. The temporary high given by the drug probably would not normally have that effect. But many terrible acts of violence or insanity or both are committed by long-term marijuana users, who have become mentally ill.”
Testing positive for cannabis does not indicate impairment. Perhaps he was blasted out of his mind – but how would you know? “He tested positive for the drug” – sure, but that could also indicate that he sparked up some time within the previous 90 days. For anyone in the “first world” where cannabis has been legal for some time now, we understand that “presence” does not indicate “impairment”.
When referring to the actual act of jumping off from the top floor of the mall, you said “But many terrible acts of violence or insanity or both are committed by long-term marijuana users, who have become mentally ill.””
Here, you are simply wrong. There is ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE to suggest that long-term cannabis use leads to mental illness. If you are not able to understand that correlation is not causation, then you should have no place to write in national/international media outlets.
Additionally, you’re essentially saying that “mental illness is to blame, cannabis simply exacerbated it”.
So which one is to blame? Mental illness or cannabis? Did cannabis make him mentally ill? Do you really have proof to that claim?
Violence and Cannabis
“But if only the authorities would look into the past drug abuse of all violent criminals, I think we would find an undeniable link between marijuana use and violence.”
We did, and we found that most of the violence associated with cannabis is directly related to prohibition, which creates cartels which leads to more crime. Additionally, violent crime is associated with alcohol at a far higher rate – so unless, you’re on board to ban all alcohol – this is a non-argument.
In fact, prohibition has not only made society more dangerous, it helped fund other criminal activities like arms trafficking and human trafficking.
It’s always about Freedom
Finally, irrespective of what happened to Grace (which is a sad case), we cannot blame cannabis for it. There is a serious problem with mental disorders around the world. The governments of the world could give two shits about us as people, they are focused on maintaining power – not helping us.
Legalization isn’t about “safety”, it’s about “freedom”. It’s about you having the sole authority over your own mind and body. It’s about you being a sovereign entity in this world. It’s about “ownership”.
IF you believe that it’s okay to “give up your freedoms for the benefit of everyone”, then I also recommend we “force people to take therapy”, “force people to diet” (example; if you’re over weight we should force restrict you from eating at fast food chains”, we should jail tobacco smokers, ban all tobacco….oh wait…this is sounding a tad bit too authoritarian to you? Well, you’re totally okay with the State controlling what you can and cannot put into your body when it’s a substance you’re not fond of – but the moment we dive into what you like, it becomes outrageous.
This is the hypocrisy of your own belief system.