Paul Armentano is a contributor to the Disinformation book You Are Still Being Lied To and the deputy director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. This is the beginning of a great article he wrote for Alternet:
Writing in the journal Science nearly four decades ago, New York State University sociologist Erich Goode documented the media’s complicity in maintaining cannabis prohibition.
He observed: “[T]ests and experiments purporting to demonstrate the ravages of marijuana consumption receive enormous attention from the media, and their findings become accepted as fact by the public. But when careful refutations of such research are published, or when later findings contradict the original pathological findings, they tend to be ignored or dismissed.”
A glimpse of today’s mainstream media landscape indicates that little has changed — with news outlets continuing to, at best, underreport the publication of scientific studies that undermine the federal government’s longstanding pot propaganda and, at worst, ignore them all together.
Here are five recent stories the mainstream media doesn’t want you to know about pot:
1. Marijuana Use Is Not Associated With a Rise in Incidences of Schizophrenia
Over the past few years, the worldwide media, as well as federal officials in the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S. have earnestly promoted the notion that smoking pot induces mental illness.
Perhaps most notably, in 2007 the MSM reported that cannabis “could boost the risk of developing a psychotic illness later in life by about 40 percent” — a talking point that was also actively promoted by U.S. anti-drug officials.
So, is there any truth to the claim that pot smoking is sparking a dramatic rise in mental illness? Not at all, according to the findings of a study published in July in the journal Schizophrenia Research.
Investigators at the Keele University Medical School in Britain compared trends in marijuana use and incidences of schizophrenia in the United Kingdom from 1996 to 2005. Researchers reported that the “incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia and psychoses were either stable or declining” during this period, even the use of cannabis among the general population was rising.
“[T]he expected rise in diagnoses of schizophrenia and psychoses did not occur over a 10-year period,” the authors concluded. “This study does not therefore support the specific causal link between cannabis use and incidence of psychotic disorders. … This concurs with other reports indicating that increases in population cannabis use have not been followed by increases in psychotic incidence.”