Cannabis / Marijuana, EDITORIAL
Another Marijuana Meme Sours: Cannabis Likely Doesn't Incite Violence After All
By Anthony Wile - November 29, 2014

The meme of "marijuana leads to violent behavior" is weakening.

As this theme is discredited, cannabis decriminalization and legalization will surely continue to expand. Here at The Daily Bell we see this as an ongoing and even inevitable trend.

Vox is the latest media platform to take aim at this meme. The publication has posted an article entitled "Grand jury testimony suggested marijuana made Michael Brown violent. That's unlikely."

What's noteworthy is that this trend was virtually unquestioned for the past 75 years: Cannabis, when ingested, can produce numerous physical and mental problems – or so we were told.

A Forbes article published three months prior to the Vox article provides us with a little history regarding the supposed link between violence and pot.

Drug policy historians [know] that, before marijuana acquired a reputation as a "drop-out drug" that sapped people's motivation, rendering them lethargic and docile, it was feared as a "killer drug" that triggered mayhem and murder.

A 1917 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture quoted an El Paso police captain who said marijuana users "become very violent, especially when they become angry, and will attack an officer even if a gun is drawn." He added that they "seem to have no fear, [are] insensible to pain," and display "abnormal strength," so that "it will take several men to handle one man."

Under Harry Anslinger, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics got a lot of mileage out of such claims. A 1936 pamphlet from the bureau warned that "prolonged use of Marihuana frequently develops a delirious rage which sometimes leads to high crimes, such as assault and murder. Hence Marihuana has been called the 'killer drug.'…Marihuana sometimes gives man the lust to kill, unreasonably and without motive. Many cases of assault, rape, robbery, and murder are traced to the use of Marihuana."

None of this rings true, of course, and particularly not given what we understand today. The idea that cannabis incites violence is especially odd for anyone who's inhaled the plant, which is generally understood to provide a calming and even soporific effect.

But police "authorities" were apparently trying to cast Brown as someone who deserved to die. Thus, his ingestion of cannabis was twisted to provide suspicion that Brown was drugged up and violent.

Here, from the Vox article:

Michael Brown had marijuana in his system when Darren Wilson shot and killed him on August 9, according to the official and independent autopsies.

In the grand jury testimony released to the public Monday, both prosecutors and grand jurors seemed to push the idea that highly concentrated pot made Brown more likely to be aggressive — even when an unnamed medical expert insisted that it's unlikely pot could make Brown attack Wilson.

"The amount of marijuana he has could cause abnormal behavior, but usually doesn't," the unnamed expert said on November 13. "Ninety-nine out of 100 people taking marijuana aren't going to get in a fight with a police officer over it in my experience."

Immediately after, a prosecutor questioned the expert's credentials: "Can I just clarify something here, doctor? Your credentials are as a forensic pathologist, although you have a working understanding of toxicology, you are not a toxicologist, correct?" A grand juror joined in, suggesting the expert had no way of confirming that his statements are true.

But there's actually no reason to believe, based on the available research and the scientific understanding of pot, that marijuana would actually make someone more violent.

The article goes on to point out that "multiple studies have found the connection between marijuana use and aggression fades away when controlling for other variables such as alcohol and hard drug use."

This sort of scientific insight is buttressed, we learn, by a recent study on the topic from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville that rebutted previously posited linkages between domestic abuse and cannabis ingestion. "The study shows that a link between pot and aggression is, at the very least, nowhere close to established."

Another study from researchers at the University of Buffalo pointed out that cannabis users reported LESS domestic violence. This fits with the idea of cannabis as possessing a calming effect on users.

This makes sense to anyone with even a vague notion of marijuana's effects. Pot is most popularly known as a sedative that relaxes users. One of the prominent arguments against its use, in fact, is that it makes users so sedated that they're lazy and, as a result, unproductive.

The best way to discourage various kinds of drug use is to link that use – and the drug – to unpredictable violence. The Forbes article points out that this effort was made in regard to cocaine as well as cannabis.

But the unraveling of the meme of marijuana violence is proceeding apace. This is just more evidence that the days of cannabis as an illegal drug are numbered.

More enlightened days lie ahead.

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Posted in Cannabis / Marijuana, EDITORIAL
  • Michael Brown was programed by a defective subculture to react in a destructive manor. There is a great youtube video….

    “How NOT to get your ass kicked by the police” by Chris Rock….which i all link in reply to avoid….s-l-o-w….m-o-d.

  • dave jr

    I’m pretty sure it is the PCP (Political Correctness Principle) that promotes violence. 🙂
    When it takes a village to raise a child, then nobody really raises the child. Then people grow into adulthood with stunted psychological development, stalled at the level of a ‘terrible’ two year old where tantrums or violence is the only known method of getting ones way. So long as it works, there is no reason to develop further. Of course we can’t acknowledge this short coming. We can’t acknowledge that public policy has created a whole village of @ssholes, who would burn the place down when they don’t get their way. No, it has to be something else.

    • Praetor

      Correct Dave, 100% so. The village will produce rebels, especially, if the village is poor. The street will teach them to revolt.

      • dave jr

        I’ll call it blowback.

  • Guy Christopher

    It’s too bad ‘authorities’ in charge have been going to these lengths forever to link grass with violence and then to hard drug use. We learned in the 60’s and 70’s (so I’m told) that those lies were known to be lies by everyone who every toked a joint, and only further alienated that generation from the authorities they rebelled against. Doesn’t matter to me if Brown was high or not. He tried to take a cop’s gun, which is irrefutable from solid physical evidence, and that’s all I need to know about that one. The rest is puffery.

    • You are making up your mind based on one action? Life is more complex than that …

      • Bruce C

        Let me tell you something, I’m a white male US citizen who grew up in a wealthy neighborhood, etc. and if I robbed a store I wouldn’t be surprised at all if just about anything happened to me after that, especially if I rushed a cop or wrestled with him or grabbed his gun. Gimme a break. You have to be out of you gourd to do that. What do you expect?

      • Guy Christopher

        I understand this is a difficult and complex question, but I also believe it as as simple as the introduction of the finality of the threat of violent death into the situation. It is as simple as that, and it is as complex as that. Did Wilson make that life or death decision for them both, or did Michael Brown make that decision for them both? What does the physical evidence show? Which moment, out of all the moments played out that day, set both men on what became their paths for the rest of their lives?

        I believe that one action of reaching for that cop’s gun made all decisions that came afterward for both men. Two lives forever fused at that instant, that also affected other lives. Parents with a lifetime of grief to bear, and a wife and child-on-the-way who will forever have to listen for sounds and shadows of revenge stalking them everywhere they go. Yes, there were moments and backgrounds and life stories and philosophies that brought the individual courses of both men to that moment, but it was that act at that moment that set the course for both, and others, for the rest of their lives. You can not deal with any implications of this event until you deal with the ramifications of one threatening violent death upon another, which is exactly what Brown’s act of trying to take an officer’s gun away amounted to. That moment was the fork in the road.

        • William Scott

          Well stated. As ye sow… The “details” and “demography,” matter NOT… although the PTB will “spin” the narrative to incite more violence, to keep the game going… including the ongoing “black vs. white,” meme.

  • Danny B

    Who ever was involved in this “violence idea” certainly never hung around with stoners. They NEVER get violent. They should check him for PCP. THAT really makes a person crazy,,, dusted.

    • William Scott

      I think the other young guy in Ferguson, MO just prior having been excessively shot (8+ times?) by police in broad daylight with many witnesses present, only four miles away (yet another “victim…” in a long string of police shootings of violent, irrational, or not… wits end, poor “minority” men) might well have been a provocation to overly “aggressive” behavior… vs. say the suicidal “shoot me” approach of the previous “suicide by cop” man. (Who likely couldn’t buy any food?) Perhaps they were BOTH on drugs, aside from pot?? (The other guy was clearly acting rather strange.) And as Dave Jr. and FSS pointed out below… so does the “victim” mindset, obviously. (The Preconditioning…) People increasingly see their plights as “hopeless and helpless” by design… so they not only BLAME “the man…” but again are increasingly lashing out against the police (as symbols of the PTB) that ultimately created and maintain their REPRESSION. This will soon BACKFIRE, when everyone else (i.e. the 99% also side AGAINST the illusion, of “ORDER!” Afterall, this is the PTB’s ultimate KARMA…)

      The (irrational) dude in Ferguson… seemed on PCP, or more likely on METH, or even crack cocaine??? (Or not playing with a full deck…)

  • “How NOT to get your ass kicked by the police” by Chris Rock,

    • dave jr

      That is funny! Good comedy carries a seed of truth. But think of it. Much of that is what a parent would have taught…if the parent hadn’t been the State. One is far better off in receiving an earned ass kicking from ones’ own biological parent(s).

  • Bruce C

    “More enlightened days lie ahead.”

    Indeed, as in lightheadedness.

    Let’s face it so many people want marijuana legalized that it’s going to happen regardless of studies like this, pro or con.

    I tend to agree that weed has a depressive effect so maybe if the whole society is comfortably numb then they may not resist as much.

    • rkshanny

      “studies” . . . a bunch of self-serving statist baloney?? Unless there’s an actual crime against persons/property (mala in se), there is NO crime. They can take their studies and . . . go mind their damn Puritan do-gooder busybody business.

  • Praetor

    Michael Brown’s violence on Aug, 9th, came from his short 18 years, out of the home in which he lived and the streets on which he played. Michael Brown, wanted those cigars to celebrate the fact he was except into college, but had no money to get them, and the stupid peer pressure, from his stupid street buddies, got him killed. Marijuana may have lowered his inhabitation, but the fools on the street got him killed. I’ve told my children, ( a true friend will never get you in trouble, a true friend will keep you out of trouble), and that is the measure of a friend. On that day, Michael Brown had no family or friends, all he had was the evil that exists on the street of a poor neighborhood.

    • dave jr

      Think of a person with the emotional maturity of a two year old in a mans body released into the streets. Think of an entire city inflicted with a great enough percentage of this to create an altered street culture. From this point of view, nothing about the Brown affair is surprising. Not Brown’s behavior, nor the cops reaction, nor the aftermath.
      In my last post, I called it blowback. It is blowback on society as a whole from failed public policy. It comes from busybody social engineers attempting to control something that they have absolutely no ability to control. In this case, their wish to control the raising of children, to indoctrinate them, in attempt to make them line up as their little minions, to advance bigger agendas, several generations in the making, is now failing miserably and we are all paying the price.
      When people are left alone to be responsible for themselves, they either learn to be responsible or suffer the consequences. Natural law and human nature will prevail, it always does, for better or worse. I lay a good deal of the social problems at the feet of control freaks everywhere, in all subject matters. At the feet of those whose own life is not good enough for them, and need a piece of others.

  • Centurian

    With 40 years of police, fire and EMS experience, I can tell you that pot does not make people violent. It may, however, reduce some inhibitions. That’s why in college we all liked to get our dates high. Fewer doubts and inhibitions! But, it does not create “Reefer Madness.”

    As for what happened in Ferguson, opinions without facts are fanciful creations. I’ve not seen all of the evidence and I was not there, therefore, I can’t really have a solid opinion about what happened and who was more wrong. Usually in complex issues like this, there is plenty of fault to share among the participants.

    If I were there and saw what the cop says happened, I’d have helped him put the guy down with my own gun. But, if what others say is true, that the cop “was executing” the guy, I’d have shot the cop.

    The facts that the “gentle giant” robbed a store and had taken an illegal drug (not that I think it should be illegal) certainly help support that cop’s side of the story. It appears that physical evidence also weighs in on the cop’s side. But, jumping to defend either side of the issue without good information beyond what the media will give you is simply confirmation bias. You have an opinion about what happened, based on emotions about race/cops, etc. and then fit the scant evidence to support your view.

    We have all heard what the media wants to tell us about the evidence, but have any of you actually seen any of it? Do you have the expertise to interpret it? Probably very few can honestly answer yes to both questions, yet lots of people seem to have opinions that do not have any foundation. We don’t even know enough to know if the evidence on either side is real. DB is right when it says that life is more complex that which we are fed as pablum.

    • dave jr

      You make a good point when you bring up the media. It seems like the whole affair is made for television. Now we have the shooting of a twelve year old.
      I guess we’ll have to see where this one goes.
      You are making me rethink my theory of ‘blowback’. I don’t trust the MSM any more than fedgov. Are are the social programmers (the owners) using “balanced reporting” to create controversy, to intentionally incite civil unrest? Could they be that evil?

      • Centurian

        Dave, I suspect that they are really that evil. After all, they gave us two world wars, a host of other wars and the elimination of hundreds of millions of people throughout the past couple of centuries. I doubt that there is any line they won’t cross.

    • rkshanny

      “reduce inhibitions”?? Kinda like hanging a badge on some over-immune Neanderthal??

  • sleat

    Looks like Bill Hicks was right. He did a whole routine on violence resulting from alcohol, vs violence resulting from cannabis. Shucks, sometimes it seemed like he did whole shows about the “War on Drugs”.

  • James Jaeger

    I think marijuana DOES sap motivation, rendering people lethargic and docile. But so does alcohol. There is a price to pay for using any drug, including pharma.

    • rkshanny

      Even assuming you’re correct . . . so what??

  • William Scott

    Michael Brown had just robbed a convenience store with a bunch of other people… and was clearly intentionally VIOLENT… as proven via the in store video cam when he manhandled the much smaller store clerk, vs. exiting without incident, then attacked the cop in the patrol car (who was merely responding to the incident) vs. running away… whilst foolishly walking down the middle of the street carrying the stolen loot, just after the robbery!

    And THC stores in the fatty tissues, etc. for up to 90 days… It’s far more likely that they were regular “recreational” pot smokers (of high THC level?) but he therefore probably wasn’t high, at that time… or WHY the violent reaction to the clerk, then the officer? The police should have avoided mention of THC in his system… and focused on the fact that Brown was clearly acting like a THUG just prior, as evidenced on video! A 6 foot four, 295 pound guy attacking an armed cop in his car (punching him in the face) was a brutish, ill timed and very aggressive move, obviously! (Perhaps the pot he had was LACED with say, methamphetamine, or???)

    I rarely DEFEND the actions of the police… however Brown’s attack provoked a predictable response. It’s too bad that these street thug MORONS are likely going to end up starting a full blown VIOLENT revolution… and ALL of us are ultimately then going to be drug into the ensuing CONFLICT… with the PTB! (And “an eye for an eye” doesn’t begin to cover the “grievances,” against “Government!”)