By any objective standard, those who support marijuana prohibition are losing the war. Whether you look at polls, demographics or the advance of marijuana legalization measures across the country, those who fight prohibition are winning. This set of circumstances is causing prohibition supporters to resort more and more to wild and already-disproven claims.  

Take, for example, Colorado’s 4th Judicial District Attorney, Dan May. “Marijuana is the gateway drug to homicide in our community and across our state, and people need to start recognizing that,” he said at a press conference recently after a large marijuana operation that skirted state law was allegedly uncovered in Colorado Springs.

The Southern Colorado Cannabis Council responded directly to D.A. May in a statement that read in part: “District Attorney Dan May made some very concerning comments linking cannabis use to murder. He stated that, ‘Marijuana is the gateway drug to homicide, in our community and across the state and people need to start recognizing that.’ This statement is utterly false. Study after study has shown that there is no correlation between cannabis use and violent crime. We would ask the District Attorney to retract his statement or provide proof of correlation between the two. This is an extremely dangerous statement. It is dangerous to Colorado’s fastest growing industry and it is dangerous to anyone associated with cannabis in Colorado.”

While it’s true that the illegal marijuana market sometimes leads to violence and that the inflated price of marijuana makes growing operations more likely to be targeted by thieves, these are consequences of cannabis prohibition, not any inherent violent properties associated with use of marijuana. Legal businesses don’t have to resort to violence to settle disputes since they have recourse in the justice system and they know resorting to violence would jeopardize their ability to operate in the legal cannabis industry.

With cannabis legalization comes lower prices, which will lower the profit margin and drive criminal elements out of the marijuana business. A lower value for cannabis also means that grow ops will be less valuable in the eyes of robbers.

But when you oppose cannabis legalization and see you are losing, you are more likely to resort to saying things like “marijuana is a gateway drug to homicide.” Whether you actually believe that or not, some people will. After all, why would a district attorney lie? He’s an upstanding member of the community, right?

He very well could be, but that doesn’t excuse such abject ignorance and it certainly doesn’t excuse publicly proclaiming such ignorance as if it is fact.