Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and current Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, was out on the campaign trail for her mom when she recently entered the debate on cannabis law reform by igniting a firestorm of indignation and downright scorn for her assertion that marijuana might be interacting with other drugs and causing deaths in Colorado.
“But we also have anecdotal evidence now from Colorado where some of the people who were taking marijuana for those purposes, the coroner believes, after they died, there was drug interactions with other things they were taking,” Chelsea said while speaking on her mother’s behalf late last month in Ohio.
Chelsea Clinton implies here that marijuana can kill you. Uhh pic.twitter.com/cdBWGgDG5P
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) September 27, 2016
As you can imagine, the online cannabis community exploded with vitriol and disbelief, rightly pointing out that there is zero evidence to support the claim Chelsea made. This quickly prompted a retraction from the Clinton campaign, who said in a statement that “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.”
Fair enough. I’m not exactly a fan of Hillary Clinton, but everyone makes mistakes, especially people who are expected to talk day after day about issues they may not be experts about. But the entire incident highlights something about cannabis that people like me (pundits) and people like you (followers of cannabis news) sometimes forget: most people don’t know as much about marijuana as we do.
That’s not intended as an attempt at an arrogant statement; it’s simply the truth. I can name hundreds of things most people know more about than I do; I just happen to know a lot about cannabis from reading and writing about it for 7+ years. Chelsea Clinton doesn’t.
Some will say that if you know little about something maybe you shouldn’t offer an opinion about it, and they are right to a certain extent. But that’s easier said than done when your mother is running for President and you have reporters looking at you and expecting you to say something other than “I don’t know.”
The key is education. It’s easy to assume others know as much as we do about a subject we are immersed in. The information is in our head, but it is not in the heads of most, especially after 8 decades of the lies of prohibition and “reefer madness.”
Chelsea Clinton has learned something about cannabis and the community that surrounds it. It is our job to spread the truth and make sure others learn as well.