Police Chief Troy Davenport blames marijuana for the rise of homelessness in Pueblo County, Colorado - even though a recent study shows no link between marijuana legalization and the area's homeless crisis. Now one of those researchers has unleashed a blistering rebuttal to the "superstitious" police chief who believes in "fairy tales" and is as ignorant as people who still think the earth is flat.
"There are people in Pueblo and around the world, actually, who are anti-cannabis, and they're determined to remain so in spite of the many lies associated with the whole reefer-madness phenomenon that has been debunked," Tim McGettigan - a sociology professor at Colorado State University Pueblo - told Westword. "These people operate under a type of superstitious thinking, and I don't know if any amount of science, truth and reason is going to change their thinking."
He said the supposed link between marijuana and homelessness is based on prejudice mixed with circumstantial evidence.
"[P]eople are like, 'Look, there's a homeless person over there, and I smell ganja in the air. I draw the conclusion that this homeless person and the ganja are related — and I don't have to think anymore.' And scientists don't approach situations like that. We take into consideration whatever folk wisdom may exist, but what we care about more than anything else is truth...People have been looking for ways to vilify cannabis for a long time. For much of the twentieth century, they insisted that not only was cannabis dangerous, but it was imbued with some sort of supernatural, evil spirit — a force that moves among us like Satan does and causes people to slip over to the dark side of the force. But science tells us otherwise."
McGettigan also said blaming homelessness on marijuana is as dumb as believing the earth is flat.
"We know the earth is not flat and it's not the center of the universe because scientists have spent a lot of time exploring these issues. But there's still a Flat Earth Society whose members insist the earth is flat, and there are still people who believe the earth is the center of the universe — and they have a right to believe in fairy tales if they want. But much of the rest of the population flows along with the universe of truth that science helps create for humanity."
He also threw down the gauntlet with anyone who wants to pit their "cannabis superstition" against cannabis science.
"I'll be happy to debate anyone about the existing state of cannabis science. I'll stand up for cannabis science, and I'll debate anyone who wants to stand up for cannabis superstition anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances. And after that, people can decide if they have more or less faith in cannabis science."
Your move, Kevin Sabet.