Marijuana – Hyperbole of a Myth


In 1936 the propaganda film, “Reefer Madness” shunned any semblance of scientific methodology or evidence, as it exaggerated and/or outright lied about marijuana’s effects. It seems our federal government has not advanced any further in their critical reasoning, or apparent lack thereof, regarding contemporary perspectives on marijuana.


During a Senate committee hearing on marijuana legalization, DEA Chief Of Operations James Capra exclaimed that marijuana legalization would be a “reckless and irresponsible” decision. He further stated, “I’m talking about the long-term impact of legalization in the United States. It scares us.”

Being that the DEA was implicated on the very same day in a decades-long deal with the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico that facilitated their smuggling drugs into the United States, we might find the level of contradiction to be so surreal that it could be considered comedic, were peoples’ lives not being literally ruined in the process.

Capra’s testimony was only that of an appeal to emotion argument, with no substantive scientific citation being afforded to lend any credibility whatsoever to his statements. As a matter of fact, it was such a confused and rambling argument that I’m given reason to consider whether he was high from a more intoxicating substance than marijuana when he delivered it.

Capra claimed that marijuana legalization was a failed experiment wherever it had been attempted, apparently not realizing that Uruguay became the first country to fully legalize marijuana.

He said that they were concerned with traffickers, not users, and one has to wonder if he meant to say they were concerned with aiding traffickers, considering that the DEA has been repeatedly implicated in assisting smuggling operations, in addition to the latest scandal.

Following his testimony, Dianne Feinstein spoke to her agreement with Capra’s statements, and further asserted her belief that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” Apparently, Senator Feinstein neglected to read the findings of the federal government’s own studies on the subject.


In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine issued a report, “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” which was commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug Control. The report asserted – quite to the contrary – that given its ubiquitous nature, that it is simply statistically most likely to be the first illegal drug that anyone would encounter. They stated further that the primary indicators of potential illicit drug use, or “gateway drugs,” were more widely discovered to be alcohol and nicotine. It seems that marijuana bears the ignoble title of “gateway drug” simply because it is the first unconditionally illegal drug that most people use, which is really just a degree of technicality; at the age most illicit drug users initially used tobacco and alcohol, it was illegal for them to ingest these substances.

The report summarized the issue thusly:

“There are strikingly regular patterns in the progression of drug use from adolescence to adulthood. Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug that most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs used marijuana first. In fact, most drug users do not begin their drug use with marijuana—they begin with alcohol and nicotine, usually when they are too young to do so legally.

Whereas the stepping stone hypothesis presumes a predominantly physiological component of drug progression, the gateway theory is a social theory. The latter does not suggest that the pharmacological qualities of marijuana make it a risk factor for progression to other drug use. Instead, the legal status of marijuana makes it a gateway drug.”


It’s a sad state of affairs when our elected representatives and unelected officials that are determining our legislation are ignorant of the facts of the matter because of their unwillingness to research a topic. They are spreading the same disinformation that the cult classic film did.