Dear journalists and cannabis content generators,
In previous columns, we've discussed how it's irresponsible/dumb to do "stunt journalism," like drinking entire bottles of weed lube, and reductive/boring to infuse every possible facet of modern life and cuisine with the phrase "cannabis infused," but here we are again, critiquing some stupid, inaccurate, click-baity headlines.
First, Gov. Jerry Brown did not say, "Californians Can Smoke and Vape in Parks, on Beaches," (Cannabist, Oct. 9) or "[OK] Marijuana Use at State Parks, Beaches" (Marijuana Business Daily, Oct. 9). Brown vetoed Senate Bill 386, which would have banned smoking of all kinds in parks and on beaches. Not that anyone's enforcing it, but smoking pot in public is still illegal, including at your favorite surf spot. Sorry. The more interesting story is that Brown, who's often portrayed as an overreaching, big government enviro nut, chose to reject the bill, saying it was "too broad" and "there must be some limit to the coercive power of government." But as our media consumption becomes ever-more curated, some people are only going to get their news from within an emerald bubble. A bubble that includes this column, I guess.
Second, "Does Smoking Pot Lead to More Sex?" National Public Radio (Oct. 27) is just asking the questions. As are CNN, "Marijuana: Regular Users Have More Sex," and Forbes, "Heavier Pot Use Linked to More Sex, Study Suggests." I feel for the writers who saw this Stanford study come across the wire and realized they had struck clickbait gold. Sex. Pot. Woo.
But it really is a whole lot of woo, in the old-timey medicine cart way. The study, conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine and published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, comes from an analysis of more than 50,000 Americans between ages 25 and 45. What it found is not a causal connection, but rather a correlation. People who smoke pot seem to have sex more often, according to self-reported data. How much more sex? About one time more a month on average than non-smokers. Considering a lot of the negative press around pot and sex — studies that indicate a lower sex drive, a lower sperm count, the inadvisability of initiating intercourse with chip crumbs on your fingers — this is good news. But how good are the headlines, particularly the Forbes one? Well, not great.
"It doesn't say if you smoke more marijuana, you'll have more sex," the study's senior author, Michael Eisenberg, an assistant professor of urology, told Stanford's news center.
In accuracy-infused news, Corona beer's parent company, Constellation Brands, may be launching a "cannabis-infused" beverage at some point. According to the Chicago Tribune, the alcohol giant announced plans on Monday to buy a significant stake in Canopy Growth Corp., a Canadian medical marijuana company, with an eye toward launching a weedy (non-alcoholic) drink in that country, perhaps as early as July, when recreational cannabis use becomes legal nationwide. This would be the first entry of a major alcohol distributor into the nascent weed industry, which is definitely noteworthy, but Constellation has stated it has no plans to advance into the U.S. market until we've also fully legalized recreational cannabis. So if you can't live without drinking your THC, to say nothing of universal healthcare, move north.
Finally, we see you, New Jersey state attorney general. Law enforcement agencies in the Garden State distributed some scare-mongering literature from the A.G. warning parents to watch out for "cannabis edibles" in their kids' Halloween buckets. While there is a well-documented rise in kids accidentally eating their parents' stash and such in post-legalization Colorado, it seems extremely unlikely that anyone is donating their expensive edibles to little witches, either purposefully or accidentally. Moreover, there are exactly zero documented instances of this happening anywhere, although some of the headlines you'll see flit across your social media feeds might indicate otherwise. To which I say: Boo.
Linda Stansberry is a staff writer at the Journal. Reach her at 442-1400, extension 317, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LCStansberry.