In light of recent cannabis legalization measures, representatives of the York Regional Police Department gave a presentation at local schools on the subject, but were quickly forced to apologize and admit that they are "no health experts." During the presentation, officers made a variety of false claims, most notably that smoking marijuana causes enlarged breasts in men and boys.
School resource officer Nigel Cole told the students that, "You have peer pressure and drug dealers telling you about the great effects of marijuana, but I’m here to tell you there are some very negative effects. There are studies that marijuana lowers your testosterone; we call it ‘doobies make boobies’. We’re finding 60 percent of 14-year-olds are developing ‘boobies’. There’s a greater chance of having depression, anxiety, bipolar or schizophrenia. There are addictive qualities, psychosis risks, and it’s been proven to disrupt the neural pathways. The problem is, all this research has not had a chance to catch up to the laws."
Cole also said that cannabis was worse than alcohol, using entirely false statistics.
“Studies have shown half a joint is equivalent to seven alcoholic beverages. You will not be able to walk a straight line. You will not be able to touch your finger to your nose. It’s incredible how much marijuana — and all drugs — impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle,” he said.
Cole added that he was just giving his “personal opinion.”
Some of the officers had different opinions, officer Doug Macrae admitted that legalization was a good thing, but still insisted that cannabis causes "psychotic episodes."
"They were having these same conversations in the 1920s when they legalized alcohol. It’s inevitable, it’s going to happen. In my experience as a police officer, the worst I’ve come across with people who are high on marijuana is they want to hug you. They’re really laid back unless they are the one-in-seven or -eight who has a psychotic episode," Macrae said.
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The full transcript of the question and answer session was published by the York Region newspaper and not soon after the police were offered to issue an apology.
The York Regional police made a post on Twitter that said, “We’re no health experts, but we’re pretty sure getting high does not cause enhanced mammary growth in men. We are aware of the misinformation about cannabis that was unfortunately provided to the community by our officers. We’re working to address it.”
If they aren't health experts, then why are they pretending to be?
Dr. Ian Mitchell, an emergency physician at Royal Inland Hospital and a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine at UBC, told Global News Radio that these statements were flat out lies.
“That is completely wrong. I don’t know where he has come up with that statistic – it’s complete nonsense. There’s no evidence this is the case … This is just urban mythology that has been repeated and repeated onwards. It’s really irresponsible for police officers to be telling youth this and not having someone else to be able to correct this information,” Mitchell said.
The science is actually on the side of cannabis, as many recent studies have shown it to be far less dangerous than alcohol. Just like prescription pills and tobacco, alcohol is seen as more socially acceptable in American society because the government approves of it. However, these substances are largely more dangerous than many of the illegal drugs that people have a deep fear of.