Grass is Not Greener and Anti-Marijuana Propaganda

Saturday’s edition of the New York Times featured a full page advertisement paid for by the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposed the legalization of marijuana. 

This is the advertisement:  

nyt anti pot ad

The caption reads: 

“The legalization of marijuana means ushering in an entirely new group of corporations whose primary source of revenue is a highly habit-forming product. Sounds a lot like a another industry we just put in place. Many facts are being ignored by this and other news organizations.”

I don’t smoke marijuana. I thought it was cool for a short period of time in my life, but then again, I also thought Axe Body Spray was contributing positively to my overall physical presence around that same time. That being said, I don’t have a problem with people who still use Axe Body Spray nor do I think that the good people creating scents like “Cool Metal” or “Phoenix” should be stopped from selling their product. 

I don’t pretend to know enough about all the issues of the legalization of marijuana to make a strong, active stance on the issue. I do take stances against people advertising agendas with extremely little depth to the merit of their specific points. It’s a good way to put a cloud of misleading smoke around an issue that actually needs to be debated intelligently.  

Smart Approaches to Marijuana is clearly stating that legalizing pot will lead to a huge industry that may very-well be compared to the tobacco industry (perhaps there are valid points in this argument). The “Perception vs. Reality” angle seems aimed at progressives and young people who don’t realize what the legalization of marijuana will lead to. I would argue that progressives and young people are not actually that naive. They realize that it will lead to big corporations selling pot. They also realize that it will increase the price of marijuana, but I think some of them balance that against the fact that they won’t, you know, get arrested for buying or possessing it. 

They did not need to be told that pot will not be universally sold by guys in snow hats. Not to mention, I doubt anyone who is reading this has ever bought pot from a guy that good looking. Drug dealers typically just look like unfunny Seth Rogans. 

The necessity for that add is about on par with the necessity with this ad I just created: 



The mass production of cookies may be enticing, but what you think is created by elves and old ladies is actually a giant corporation. Learn the facts at

I went to to look for more fleshed out arguments on their stance. Instead they have a scroll of random facts without any context or deeper explanation of what the stats mean. Here are a few:

Regular marijuana use can reduce your IQ by as much as eight points 

This doesn’t say how long it would take to happen. An eight point drop would not seem that significant over 20 years. It would also be extremely hard to prove this is the case considering environmental circumstances, like say education or lack thereof, could also strongly contribute to a decrease in IQ. Also, does anyone reading this actually know their own IQ?

Marijuana can lead to schizophrenia, psychosis or depression. 

This doesn’t say clinically diagnosed, long term schizophrenia, psychosis or depression. That claim can mean that it can cause similar symptoms while you are intoxicated. So basically, you could get really sad when you smoke pot or even act crazy. Kind of like when you drink alcohol or, in extreme situations, eat McDonalds. 

There were also “myths” like these:

 Legalizing marijuana will dramatically shrink the black market…Not true, the black market will undercut the taxed price to adults and still sell to minors.

If you were the kingpin of a giant illegal drug operation would you want marijuana to be legalized. No, you wouldn’t. Because less people will buy drugs from you. I don’t like dealing with big, ruthless corporations that don’t care about me, but I also don’t like dealing with cartels that would decapitate people or petty drug dealers who will shoot me if I sound like a cop. The word ruthless takes on a different meaning. 

Will illegal drug dealers still sell drugs in America. Yes. But thousands of people on both sides of the Mexican border are being killed every year as colleteral damage to illegal drug trafficking. Every time you smoke weed you contribute to that and have a little bit of that blood on your hands. Legally buying marijuana may strengthen a giant, potentially harmful industry, but it allows a consumer to avoid fueling illegal operations that run rampant in poor cities like Juarez. 

Marijuana is harmless and non-addictive…Not true. 1 in 6 adolescents and 1 in 10 adults who try marijuana become addicted. 

Does this sound even remotely correct? This does not provide any context or their definition of addiction. If you go to the bottom of the page to the “research” tab and find the tiny roman numeral associated with each fact and then connect it to the tiny roman numeral for a bunch of sources, you can find that this very bold fact was backed up by just one particular source from 1994. 

There is also a big quote from the American Cancer Society claiming they do not advocate smoking marijuana. They are also strongly against cigarettes, but they are not illegal. 

Like I said, I don’t pretend to have a strong stance on the matter and I certainly believe that there is possible merit in the argument that creating a giant marijuana industry could be a potentially harmful endeavor, however, the information of this advertisement and their coinciding website is being presented in an extremely shortsighted manner. 

Out of context facts that are extremely hard to both prove or disprove are no way to make an argument. People on both sides of the political spectrum use them everyday to rally the people who blindly support their stance. That’s why young people choose to zone them out and remain uninformed in regards to huge world issues, environmental crisises and domestic threats. Well, that and we’re all really busy sending each other Snapchats. 

Jonny Auping


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