Chelsea Clinton Implies Marijuana Can Cause Death

By McCarton Ackerman 09/30/16

Legal marijuana advocates and pro-marijuana organizations quickly slammed Chelsea for her comments.

Chelsea Clinton Implies Marijuana Can Cause Death

Marijuana advocates are taking Chelsea Clinton to task after she suggested during a recent speech that weed can kill you.

Speaking at a campaign event for her mother, the 36-year-old implied that pot was responsible for multiple reported deaths in Colorado. Although she admitted there was evidence “anecdotally” for marijuana being effective in treating certain medical conditions, she suggested that the risks generally outweigh the rewards.

She said, "We also have anecdotal evidence now from Colorado where some of the people who were taking marijuana for [medical] purposes—the coroner believes, after they died, there was drug interactions with other things they were taking.”

Legal marijuana advocates and pro-marijuana organizations quickly slammed Chelsea for her comments. Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, said to ATTN that “anyone who has experience with marijuana or is even vaguely familiar with the research knows that cannabis has never lead to an overdose death in recorded history.”

ATTN cited evidence that cannabis, when combined with prescription drugs such as opioid-based painkillers, can actually enhance the effects of the medications. And Dr. Michelle Ross, a cannabis researcher and founder of the IMPACT Network in Denver, Colorado, noted that the medical benefits of cannabis are a little more than anecdotal.

"There have been over 20,000 studies published on PubMed [a federal database of biomedical research],” Dr. Ross told ATTN. "This is not anecdotal. This one plant has been researched more than Tylenol, more than Adderall, more than any other medication.”

Angell expressed hope that Clinton “will take the opportunity to quickly correct the record.” 

Her spokeswoman sent a statement to ThinkProgress about the controversial remarks: “While discussing her and her mother’s support for rescheduling marijuana to allow for further study of both its medical benefits and possible interactions with other medications, Chelsea misspoke about marijuana’s interaction with other drugs contributing to specific deaths.”

Hillary has vowed to downgrade marijuana to a Schedule II substance so it can be prescribed by doctors and obtained more easily for federal studies. She also supports drug treatment over prison and opposes long sentences for non-violent, marijuana-related crimes.

However, the Democratic presidential nominee has stopped short of endorsing legal marijuana at the federal level, saying she wants to first see the results from states in which it’s currently legal.

“We should be learning about what works, what doesn't work,” she said during a New Hampshire town hall debate earlier this year.

“Different states have actually listed the kind of illnesses and conditions that it can be used for. Are they right? We don't know. That's why we have got to do the research.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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