Celebrities, politicians and high powered public relations firms are cashing in on the cannabis craze, marketing weed as medicine while ignoring evidence showing it can be harmful for kids and some adults.
Justin Bieber, Jay-Z, Jim Belushi, Jerry Garcia’s daughter and the actor who played Urkel are just the latest to peddle marijuana — oh, wait you can’t call it marijuana anymore — it’s cannabis.
In Massachusetts, former Boston mayoral candidate Tito Jackson runs a cannabis business as well as former Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral. Former Massachusetts congressman Willliam Delahunt jumped into the cannabis industry early, using his clout in Washington and the Statehouse.
And several high-profile public relations companies in Boston represent cannabis businesses.
Bieber has partnered with a California cannabis company, Palms Premium, selling pre-rolled joints called “Peaches” — named after his hit song, of course.
The Canadian singer is actually going so far as to claim pot is good for mental health, marketing it to young adults despite reams of studies showing it could be harmful for those with anxiety, depression, psychoses and schizophrenia.
“I’m a fan of Palms and what they are doing by making cannabis approachable and helping to destigmatize it — especially for the many people who find it helpful for their mental health,” Bieber said, promising to use some of the profits from Peaches to support nonprofits.
But while pot may treat chronic pain, PTSD or cancer-related conditions, its effect on mental health is not yet fully known and there is little evidence to back up claims by Bieber and others that cannabis can treat mood disorders.
Cannabis can be especially dangerous for children who might follow Bieber or actually listen to his bogus claims.
“A number of studies have documented a correlation between marijuana and the onset of schizophrenia or other psychotic conditions,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Heavy use of marijuana and related products during teen and young adult years can particularly increase the risk of triggering the onset of schizophrenia and psychosis. While studies are limited and vary in their conclusions, there is some evidence that regular marijuana use may hasten the onset of symptoms of mood disorders (bipolar disorder and major depression) and anxiety disorders, particularly among young people.”
NAMI reports that people with mental illness use pot at a rate of at least twice that of people without mental illness.
In other words, it’s a vast untapped market for pot peddlers like Bieber.
What Bieber and others are really after is not just to destigmatize weed but to make tons of money off it.
With more and more states continuing to make recreational pot legal, weed has become a multi-billion dollar business.
As usual, it’s all about the almighty dollar.