What has Congressman Mark Souder been smoking? Rep. Souder (R-IN), the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees federal drug war policies, said last week that smoking marijuana is not that much different from doing lines of cocaine or smoking crack in terms of the dangers. He made the comments on national television while appearing on MSNBC's Tucker Carlson show.
Ironically, Rep. Souder made the misguided statements while defending the Bush Administration's request for more funding to pay for anti-marijuana TV ads that have actually been shown effective only at increasing youth marijuana use. One of the reasons the campaign has backfired is that the ads make ridiculous statements that teens reject, such as equating marijuana use with terrorism, and suggesting that smoking marijuana will lead one to kill people.
Drug prevention groups warn that by equating marijuana with powder cocaine and crack cocaine it sends the wrong message to young people. Millions of teens have used marijuana with no negative effects. By saying that marijuana is as dangerous as crack cocaine, it suggests that cocaine use is no more dangerous than marijuana use.
Congressman Souder's comments are Exhibit A on why the federal government's drug prevention programs are doing more harm than good.
When asked by the show's host, Tucker Carlson, why the government is wasting so much money on fighting marijuana instead of more dangerous drugs like methamphetamine, Souder responded:
"the THC content of BC Bud, Quebec Gold and this marijuana that's currently on the streets isn't like the Cheech and Chong marijuana. It's more like cocaine...In other words, the THC of ditchweed and what was happening when I was in college in the late '60s and early '70s had a THC of 4 to 8 percent, maybe as high as 12. Now we're looking at 20, 30, 40 percent. And the kick and the addiction you get, the destruction in your brain cells, is more like coke or crack than it is like the old-time marijuana."
Tragically, while defending the government's own drug ads--so outrageous that teens reject them outright, Rep. Souder has advanced a new series of utterly outrageous claims. It would be funny if it wasn't for the fact that some teens might actually believe him when he says there's no difference between smoking marijuana and smoking crack cocaine.
It is time to cut this wasteful government spending, and pull those stupid anti-marijuana ads that Souder was defending when he compared marijuana to crack! You can help do so here.
Follow Bill Piper on Twitter: www.twitter.com/billjpiper