In March the Atlanta Journal & Constitution (AJC) PolitiFact Georgia took on a statement by Georgia CARE director James Bell. The “Truth-O-Meter” ruled that his statement that “about 100 people” are arrested in Georgia everyday was false. Based on some research, PolitiFact found the statement to be “Mostly False” and that 81.5 arrest each day was a better number.
With that in mind James Bell set out to look at statements made in the AJC concerning marijuana – particularly “fake pot” also know as “Spice” and “K2”.
On a front page story “Synthetic pot still on market” (Aug. 10, 2012 side bar) AJC reported that the designer drug was made by spraying a plant material with chemicals containing THC, an active compound in cannabis.
Bell challenged the AJC on the statement and asked for a retraction and correction of the statement. After a series of email exchanges the AJC did in fact correct the statement on April 4, 2013 –
“A front-page article about synthetic marijuana in the Aug. 10, 2012, edition should have stated that it is a designer drug made by spraying chemicals that mimic the effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical compound in marijuana that has psychoactive effects. If you have a question or comment about articles or photos published in the AJC, contact the newsroom at 404-526-7003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Bell said if the AJC is going to trivialize the arrest of nearly 30,000 people each year in Georgia, it was fair to challenge them on this false statement.
“The designer drug being called “synthetic pot” is not cannabis and is not a natural substance, False statements associating cannabis with this product piles on more negative connotations on a plant that has been deemed to be one of the safest therapeutically active substances know to man”, Bell said.
Bell is concerned that when the public is given false information that associates cannabis with a synthetic substance that has caused harmful effects on users and negative news stories worldwide, the public will assume the same harmful effects apply to natural cannabis. “This is not true”, Bell said.
Bell ruled the statement to be false on his Truth-O-Meter and commends the AJC for correcting the statement.
“The DEA’s Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young concluded: “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.”
Source: US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, “In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition,” [Docket #86-22], (September 6, 1988), p. 57.