America’s opioid epidemic is a national emergency. Even president Trump, who knows absolutely nothing about drug addiction, conceded earlier this month that declaring a state of emergency was a necessary tool in combating the prescription-pushed addiction crisis. But no matter how serious the opioid epidemic becomes, politicians simply can’t help themselves from making up completely unfounded lies about marijuana laced with the deadly opioid fentanyl.
After Ohio legislator Rob Portman began pushing the myth earlier this year, so-called experts around North America have hitched their star to Portman’s pony. In the month of August alone, health experts in Ontario and law enforcement officials in Massachusetts set off their brightest sirens to alert the public and media that local overdoses were due to “fentanyl-laced marijuana,” despite countless rebukes from health, addiction and other law enforcement experts and quite literally zero evidence to support any of their claims. Now, according to local WKRN News, Tennessee District Attorney Matthew Stowe is picking up where his ill-informed peers left off, spouting unrelenting falsehoods about weed dealers and the product they’re selling.
“There are some marijuana dealers that will tell their clients that I have no doubt there is fentanyl in it and some of the more addictive folks, especially folks that also use other drugs, will get that marijuana laced with fentanyl in hopes of getting a better high.” Stowe claimed, without evidence. Adding, “The bottom line is, anyone, anywhere could mix fentanyl and marijuana and there’s no way of knowing it until it’s too late.”
What the real bottom line is, though, is that no one selling marijuana has ever mixed fentanyl into their product. Frankly, there is no evidence to suggest that anyone has ever laced marijuana with fentanyl and smoked it like traditional weed. It just hasn’t happened.
Fentanyl is an incredibly dangerous drug, that certainly is escalating a pharmaceutically-pushed opioid epidemic, but by trying to tie cannabis into the the dangers of opioids, Stowe, Portman and their cohorts are doing an incredible disservice to the users, addicts and communities actually affected by opioids - people desperately in need of fact-based education and support. By worrying about local weed dealers and pot smokers, we distract ourselves from the drug companies and doctors who continue to prescribe opiate painkillers at an alarming rate. Additionally, the cannabis misrepresentation further stigmatizes marijuana away from its place as a viable treatment for opioid abuse.
Still, Stowe continued his illogical lies, digging himself into an even deeper hole of public ineptitude.
“Marijuana laced with fentanyl can be extremely deadly and to anyone who touches it, taste it, smokes it [or] anything else of that nature,” Stowe claimed. “If it’s laced with fentanyl, marijuana can be the deadliest drug there is.”
If you’d like an accurate, researched look at the state of fentanyl and marijuana’s non-existent relationship, may we suggest the words of Canada’s Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, who made unwavering remarks after similar lies were spread earlier this year.
“We have confirmed this with chiefs of police [and] law enforcement officials across this country—there is zero documented evidence that ever in this country cannabis has been found laced with fentanyl.” Philpott said. “It’s very important that we make sure that that message is clear.”
A number of U.S. law enforcement and health experts have made similar, unequivocal rebukes of the laced weed propaganda when met with local claims.