Fox News's Tucker Carlson Blames Legal Weed for July 4th Highland Park Shooting
California has some of the lowest rates of gun deaths in the US, even though it's had legal weed since the '90s. Meanwhile, Wyoming, where cannabis remains completely legal, has some of the highest rates of gun deaths.
Published on July 14, 2022

Fox News has hit upon the worst reason ever for why a shooter took the lives of seven people at this year’s Highland Park July 4th parade: Cannabis.

Tucker Carlson took to the network last Tuesday night to spew a toxic blend of Reefer Madness and misogyny that could really only come from the guy whose college yearbook identified him as a member of a society that glorified Harvey Milk’s murderer. He knows his violent, alienated white guy stuff!

“They’re high on government-endorsed weed,” said Carlson in the middle of a breathtakingly stupid monologue on the plight of the United States’ young men who are ever-increasingly perpetrating acts of unconscionable violence. “Smoke some more, it’s good for you!” he concluded, mocking the legal cannabis industry.

This likely does not need to be mentioned to the readers of a cannabis news site, but despite a near-century of propaganda to the effect, marijuana has never been proven to cause violent behavior.

This is far from the first time Carlson has gone in on weed as the source of one of the United States’ greatest shame — a.k.a. our propensity to take up arms and shoot each other. To name just a few incidents of this rhetoric travesty, in 2019 he said the white supremacist who ravaged the largely-Latine customers of an El Paso Walmart did it because of the weed.

In fact, Carlson has a … thing about weed in general. In 2020, he mocked then-presidential-candidate Bernie Sanders’ plans for federal cannabis social equity programs.

The United States has experienced more than 300 mass shootings in the first seven months of 2022. Indeed, the Highland Park tragedy wasn’t even the only such incident over the Fourth of July weekend, when gun violence also spilled blood in New York City; Gary, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri; Richmond, Virgina; Haltom City, Texas; and Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Not all those places even have legal recreational cannabis But they do have women! For, according to Carlson, weed alone isn’t enough to spur a young man to bathe his community in blood. Females in leadership positions also play a role:

“And of course, they’re angry,” Carlson continued on his Tuesday night show. “They know that their lives will not be better than their parents, they’ll be worse. And yet the authorities in their lives — mostly women — never stop lecturing them about their privilege. ‘You’re male, you’re privileged!’ Imagine that, try to imagine an unhealthier, unhappier life than that. So, a lot of young men in America are going nuts. Are you surprised?”

Such compassion for incels as expressed by Carlson wasn’t even the only instance of a talking head blaming the USA’s gun problems on cannabis. Fox News personality Laura Ingraham, host of The Ingraham Angle, also tied the mounting violence to legal weed.

“These are the eyes of some of the mass killers who have reportedly been regular pot users,” she said, as a collage of the faces of mass shooters appeared behind her. Screw your cautions about the effects of publishing the names and images of mass murderers! 

Reality doesn't match the at Fox News (does it ever?). According to Pew Research, California has one of the lowest rates of gun deaths per capita in the US, even though the state has had legal medical cannabis since the 1990s, and legalized adult-use in 2018. Meanwhile, Wyoming, which doesn't even have legal medical cannabis, much less recreational weed, has one of the highest gun-death rates.

Also, Canada and Israel, two nations with legal cannabis and high rates of consumption, have much lower rates of gun violence than the US. 

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud. 

Cover image via YouTube screen capture

Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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