Leading anti-marijuana group got its facts wrong.

Posted on September 13 2015

Lies, damned lies and statistics. It’s the old adage, which though trite, still bears repeating, especially when you find an example which reaffirms its truth. 

Project SAM, America’s largest Anti-Marijuana group, recently released a statement saying “the Department of Health and Human Services found that heavy marijuana use among monthly users - defined as 20 or more days of marijuana use per month - significantly increased among 12-to-17 year-olds in 2014 compared to 2013. Is this a lie, a damned lie or a statistic?

In politics, and this is a question of politics, lies are unfortunately expected. It often feels like a game of Where’s Waldo when trying to pick out the truth amongst the myriad of bullshit ways you get deceived. I’m not naive enough to suggest that no-one in the pro-marijuana camp has ever quoted a questionable statistic of their own, but when it comes to light that something is simply false, it feels essential to call them out on it. 

Here are the actual findings in the report, with just a small bit of research necessary to show that the opposite of what they said is actually true. When called out on this, Project SAM claimed this assertion was born from a misreading of the statistics. “We made an error and issued a correction immediately,” said Kevin Sabet, the director of the group. 

Is that realistic? The way I see it, the report was either written by an idiot who couldn’t interpret basic data correctly, or it is a… well, statistic.  The fact the error was made in the youngest category seems to be a blatant attempt at emotional manipulation. The idea of a 12 year old smoking marijuana recreationally is certainly gonna stir up controversy and set alarm bells ringing, and from an objective viewpoint it is clear to see the impact such a claim could have made. 



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