NORML Calls Bullshit On Sean Spicer’s Claim That Legalized Marijuana Promotes Opioid Abuse

spicer marijuanRemember the White House briefing when Sean Spicer said that weed led to the nation’s opioid abuse problem? NORML’S Deputy Director, Paul Armentano, just called bullshit. Check out the press release he just sent us:

Washington, DC: On Thursday, White House Press Secretary lied to the American public when he claimed “I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people (by regulating the adult use of marijuana)” during his daily press conference.

Paul Armentano, Deputy Director for NORML, published a response in The Hill newspaper systematically refuting this claim.

“Yet even a cursory look at the available evidence finds Spicer’s concerns to be misplaced and his allegations to be dead wrong.

In reality, permitting legal access to cannabis is consistently associated with reduced rates of opioid use, abuse, and mortality.”

Armentano cites several relevant peer-reviewed studies from the US, Canada, and Israel to bolster his arguments.

He concludes: “Proponents of marijuana prohibition have long alleged that experimentation with pot acts as a ‘gateway’ to the use and eventual abuse of other illicit substances. But the evidence does not support this claim. In reality, permitting marijuana sales to be regulated by licensed, state-authorized distributors rather than by criminal entrepreneurs and pushers of various other illicit drugs results in fewer, not more, Americans abusing other, potentially more dangerous substances.”

You can read the piece by clicking here.

About Paul Armentano:
Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. His writing and research have appeared in over 750 publications, scholarly and/or peer-reviewed journals, as well as in more than a dozen textbooks and anthologies. Mr. Armentano is the co-author of the book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (2009, Chelsea Green), which has been licensed and translated internationally. His most recent book, The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws (2015), is available from Whitman Publishing. He is the 2013 Freedom Law School Health Freedom Champion of the Year and the 2013 Alfred R. Lindesmith award recipient in the achievement in the field of scholarship.

22 Responses to “NORML Calls Bullshit On Sean Spicer’s Claim That Legalized Marijuana Promotes Opioid Abuse”

  1. Randall Nieukirk

    Sean Spicer needs to educate himself, with FACTS. Something this government knows nothing about.

  2. sandra j meister

    I can’t understand how this can happen when there is so much overwhelming proof that cannabis is a cure for so many different types of medical one of the larger problems in our country is opioid abuse, And cannabis is a cure for that among so many other’s PTSD
    Parkinson’s, seizures, epilepsy, heroin abuse
    too many to name them all, Truth be told the big pharm has kept it as a schedule 1 drug to keep us hooked on the Opioid pain medication. Yep this guy is going to do his best to stop the legalization of cannabis so
    we stay on medication and the make money. we need this to stop

  3. Stoner Stuff

    That’s because facts don’t matter. Check out this post we did in 2011…it’s still VERY relevant today, sadly:

  4. Kevin

    Big Pharm scared of cannabis. And i say that pain pills being distributed by Big Pharm is the hella gateway to herion epidemic.

  5. Lyn Mullen

    I would like to see a website for people who have gotten off that devil opioid crap, with either medical or recreational marijuana, tell their stories and send them to the white house and educate those asshats! Then, how can they deny the absolute proof that marijuana is not harmful or leads to opioid addiction. The PEOPLE voted this in because WE THE PEOPLE WANT to have access to safe medical/recreational marijuana! This wonderful plant manages my anxiety, blood pressure without ALL the harmful effects of big pharma drugs that usually have side effects worse than the condition being treated! I will fight for MY RIGHT to have access to marijuana! Thank you, Lyn Mullen

  6. Erin

    Yes, it’s all because of the big pharmaceutical companies. Big pharm also has incentives for the doctors that prescribe the crappy, man made, even unsafe pills from there companies. Also, if marijuana is recreationally legal, then citizens can usually grow up to so many plants. The government can’t tax us for growing plants. Therefore, they don’t get the $$ they want. It is definitely proven to be safe and good or even healing for many, many ailments. The thing now is, we have that loser Trump, as our president! Everyone he is hiring on to be part of his team, are anti-marijuana. Most of them are right wing republicans that are almost all part of Christian churches. It says nothing in the Bible about smoking weed from the earth, or that it’s a sin! The closest they can come up with is that if you smoke weed, you are idolizing it! That’s just a bunch of b.s.! We stoners do not pray to the marijuana, we don’t offer sacrifices to it, and it just isn’t an idol. What needs to happen now, is the people of the U.S.A. need to band together and push for more legalization and less Big Pharm. One more thing, I am a recovered addict. I was addicted to heroin and painkillers for years. It had nothing to do with the fact that I smoke pot. If it were easier to buy weed, and legal to buy it, then a lot of people would just settle for the ganja. It’s sad when it’s easier to get Heroin or Crack than it is to get Weed. SMFH. That being said, go blaze people! LoLz

  7. Erin

    Oh!!! I forgot to mention that weed DID help me to stop heroin and stay away from it. Now, I’m recovered and have no desire, whatsoever, to ever take heroin or painkillers ever again!

  8. Walter Kraus


  9. Scott

    same bullshit different politician spewing it. A difference between medical and recreational cannabis? Really? What’s the difference?

  10. Anonymous

    President Trump needs to realize by legalizing it there would be a lot of tax money a good way to pay for the wall
    Someone needs to give President Trump this idea taxes been receiving in legal states just think if it was government tax in 50 states Lotta money for the wall

  11. Sheila Wallace

    We will not stand to allow our elected officials who work for US to reverse progress on the issue of MARIJUANA!!!!!! This GOD given PLANT is necessary for humanity, educate YOURSELVES!!!!!!!!!

  12. Robert Mitchell

    People who drink alcohol are good people / (but pot oh your bad)

  13. Bill Killian

    Thanks for fighting the good fight I have medical marijuana legal in Rhode Island. How can we get
    The pharmaceutical company’s to back off with
    There money. We need more pot lobbiest because they are all full of crap

  14. cshellsart

    Everyone should be able to get a medical excuse. Consider in the last few hundred years we went from being hunter gatherers that rarely walked over 20 miles from where we were born, to having supersonic flight, high technology news from everywhere in seconds, overcrowding in vast cities, artificial food, plastics in everything, radiation in everything and so much more. It has been called future shock, but is more aptly called free floating anxiety.

  15. Scott shubert

    My thing is I’m a chronic pain patient,and I want to get away from so many pain meds that I take daily to keep from damaging my liver more than it already is.

  16. Stanley Ellis

    Toile representative and senator’s both at the state level in the national level: The failure to legalize cannabis is so much more ridiculous and immoral than alcohol probation that it is a mark of shame and you will be targeted for removal from all political offices a posing legalization!

  17. Joe

    Yes it is bullshit. As a disabled Army vet, Medical cannibis actually got me off of opioids. The VA had me on 3x Morphine 60, 4x Vocodin 10, plus 6 other Rx. All were replaced by this plant. That was in a Medical friendly state, Now in a not so friendly state, THANK YOU GOVT for putting me back on the Rx pills.. NOT

  18. Shari Kight

    We have made too much progress to go backwards now~

  19. Lisa

    Thanks to pot and cbd I’m weaning myself off two different anti seizure medication and Neurontin.

  20. melody ivey

    I would rather have WEED than Hydroco/apap, oxycoton or oxycodin for back pain. Weed is better for my liver and kidneys. I have degenative disks. There’s nothing that can be done.

  21. melody ivey

    Weed does NOT lead to Opioid use. I don’t want Chemical Pharmacudical Drugs. They create side effects. Those side effects are telling the body it’s not good. Then Drs. want to treat the side effects. It just makes me so MAD. I would rather have Natural Healing but Government won’t allow insurance’s to cover that. People end up trying to treat themselves. At least allow people the Freedom to Choose which treatment they want and insurance’s cover it. I believe there won’t be so many people with serious medical problems. Our bodies weren’t made for the chemicals. Aspirin comes from Willow Bark The Drug Company’s manufactured. Valium comes from Valium Root. Drug Company’s take plants and extract stuff, add other stuff that’s harmful. Give us the option for Holistic Healing and be covered by insurance. Weed being on the list.

  22. T Bone Slim

    Gotta love the way these snake oil salesman/politicians take the truth and do a complete 180 with it. Then the majority of gullible people, who are totally uneducated and have done no research on the topic whatsoever, believe whatever nonsense they’re being told without even a shred of evidence, because
    a) it was on CNN and
    b) the government would NEVER lie now would they?
    The fact of the matter is that every State that has legalized cannabis has had significant drops in opioid use, overdoses and deaths. Every single one. That is not just a coincidence. It is scientific fact that THC increases the effect and pain relieving properties of opiates, therefore opiate dosages can be cut up to half when combined with cannabis, and the same benefits are achieved.
    This is evidence that the pharma companies who produce the opiates do not want to hear and will not acknowledge publicly as doing so, would cut their annual opiate profits by up to 50%! We’re not talking millions of dollars in losses…more like BILLIONS, plural.
    This is why they don’t even bat an eyelash when it comes to spending $500,000 or more to financially back as many anti-cannabis groups as possible, continuing 70 year old utter nonsense and propaganda lies. And when the lies coming from Team Trump are this blatantly obvious, it should prove to anyone with a shred of common sense that they are in bed with the same pharmaceutical companies who donated millions of dollars in election campaign contributions.

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