Has Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell been watching too many reruns of Reefer Madness?
The conservative Republican believes marijuana and "other narcotics" can lead to death.
In a letter to a constituent who had inquired about the Senator's position on medical marijuana, the Kentucky politican said ""Because of the harm that substances like marijuana and other narcotics pose to our society, I have concerns about this legislation. The detrimental effects of drugs have been well documented: short-term memory loss, loss of core motor functions, heightened risk of lung disease, and even death."
The active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is not considered to belong to the class of drugs known as narcotics, which include cocaine in its various forms and opiates like heroin, codeine, and morphine.
The senator said he had "serious concerns" even about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. The drug is widely used to treat glaucoma and other illnesses.
Death from marijuana is extremely rare. According to New York Magazine, "To overdose on marijuana, according to a 1988 DEA report, you would "theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana" - this much - "within about fifteen minutes."
That's a whole heap of smoking or ingesting cookies.
Photo: An activist demonstrates his position on marijuana. Flickr