In a Washington Post commentary published on Monday, Joseph Perrone claims “a handful of deaths in Denver were tied to edible marijuana use this year.” That’s true, if by “handful” you mean two and if by “tied” you mean attributed by pot prohibitionists.
Perrone is referring to Levy Thamba Pongi, a visiting 19-year-old college student who jumped off a Denver hotel balcony after eating a pot cookie on March 11, and Kristine Kirk, whose husband allegedly murdered her on April 14 after eating cannabis candy. Perrone thus exaggerates the number of deaths and blames them on marijuana through post hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning. This in an essay about “the junk ‘science’ behind the marijuana legalization movement,” written by the chief science officer at an organization called the Center for Accountability in Science. I guess if you say “science” enough, you needn’t worry about being scientific.
The day after Perrone’s essay appeared, Ron Schwerzler, an opponent of Oregon’s legalization initiative, claimed at a debate that “there have been five infant children deaths in Colorado that have picked up those drugs,” referring to marijuana edibles. The actual number, as Schwerzler was forced to admitthe following day, is zero. “I really need to retract that statement because I can’t back it up,” he said. Like Perrone, Schwerzler is a man of science: director of medical services at an addiction treatment center in Eugene.[Thanks to Judith Posch for the Oregonian link.]