New Book Resurrects Long-Disproven Myths About Marijuana While Ignoring Societal Harms of Punitive Policies

Press Release January 9, 2019
Media Contact

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Jolene Forman 510-842-7560

Alex Berenson’s forthcoming book  “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence,” is generating extensive national media attention despite being riddled with inaccuracies, cherry-picked evidence, and straw men.
Experts from the Drug Policy Alliance are available to separate fact from fiction and to address the vast societal harms of marijuana prohibition and punitive policies:
•    Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance
•    Jolene Forman, DPA’s senior staff attorney and author of From Prohibition to Progress: A Status Report on Marijuana Legalization  
•    Sheila Vakharia, PhD, policy manager at DPA’s office of academic engagement
“This sort of alarmism has been around since the earliest days of prohibition, but Berenson is resurrecting it at a critical time, when the public and policymakers are increasingly moving toward responsible regulation of marijuana,” said Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, DPA’s executive director.

“Prohibition means that states have no ability to control products’ content, purity, potency, or accessibility to young people. Prohibition means derailing hundreds of thousands of lives—overwhelmingly black and brown—every year with marijuana arrests. By contrast, states that have legalized marijuana for adult use are increasingly showing that regulation is an effective way to protect public health and safety.”
DPA staff are available to elaborate on the following points that Berenson ignores or gets wrong:
•    Berenson relies on junk science – he cherry picks data, conflates correlation with causation, and relies on data tainted by sampling bias

•    Berenson ignores the vast, racially disproportionate harms of marijuana prohibition  
•    Evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that legal regulation has significant benefits for public health and safety
•    Prohibition has stymied marijuana research – and Berenson wildly mischaracterizes what the research has shown
•    Decriminalization does not do nearly enough to reduce the harms of marijuana prohibition


A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

Sign up for updates from DPA.