Kentucky legislator calls on the phantom parents of the nonexistent children killed by pot

In a committee hearing held in the legislature of the state of Kentucky, a Republican state representative has offered to do what the worldwide medical establishment has not been able to do for going on the entire course of human history, produce evidence that the natural and curative substance cannabis kills users.

State Representative Robert Benvenuti, in a hearing exploring whether or not Kentucky should join the rest of Americans who believe that withholding medicine from the sick is both scientifically backward and immoral and instead allow patients to use cannabis for medicinal reasons without being arrested, advised the Kentucky legislature’s House Health and Welfare Committee;

“I could…fill this committee room with first responders, law enforcement officers and parents of dead children based on the effects of marijuana.”

An amazing feat given that the US Government itself (following a remarkable streak of over 240 years) reported in 2010 that zero drug deaths were caused by cannabis. In fact, the government tells us that the overwhelming majority of the 38,329 overdose deaths in 2010, 57.7 percent, were caused by prescribed pharmaceuticals.

What Representative Benvenuti may have been thinking of, because I will accord him the benefit of the doubt by assuming he is not either a dumbass or a liar, are the sad and preventable deaths in the US that are caused by alcohol (more than 25,000 as reported federal government in 2010) or perhaps it was the government estimated 440,000 deaths each year in America that are caused by tobacco (40,000 of those deaths caused by the inhalation of second hand tobacco smoke) that effect families across America. Perhaps these widows and widowers and parentless children are the people he was claiming could fill the statehouse committee room.

Representative Benvenuti’s claims are also counterintuitive when one takes into consideration the myriad scientific studies that tell us of the possible medical benefits of cannabis (“the useful substance”, Thomas Pynchon). USA Today reported last May on a study that found that cannabis use is tied to lower bladder cancer risk. Also last May, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that cannabis causes “complete remission” of Crohn’s Disease with “no side effects.” The federal government also has stated quite clearly that the compounds in cannabis called cannabinoids, actually and miraculously reduce the size of cancer tumors. These are the beautiful and hopeful words from scientists that were published by our government that Representative Benvenuti may have missed;

“Experimental evidence accumulated during the last decade supports that cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa and their derivatives, possess anticancer activity. Thus, these compounds exert anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, anti-migratory and anti-invasive actions in a wide spectrum of cancer cells in culture. Moreover, tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis are hampered by cannabinoids in xenograft-based and genetically-engineered mouse models of cancer.”

Representative Benvenuti also suggested to the committee that cannabis is known by scientists to cause automobile accidents and child abuse when he said in his statement to the panel; “In driving intoxicated, in child abuse, we’ve already heard today from folks who talk about intoxicants and its (sic) role in child fatality and child abuse.”

Benvenuti concluded his testimony by declaring that the obvious reason why people support legalizing cannabis to treat the sick is to create a “Trojan horse to legalize recreational use of marijuana”, dismissing the testimony given by patients and the parents of deathly sick children who attended the hearing to voice their support for legalizing medical cannabis out of hand. Benvenuti said that providing relief and cures to diseased Kentuckians would “open the floodgates and create a different kind of suffering” in the Bluegrass State.

Although Benvenuti, who is a freshman Republican state representative, who was once an adjunct professor at a Catholic college and who loves to read about “God and Ronald Reagan”, may not realize it, his “views” on cannabis are surprisingly shared by the Obama administration to a degree – to the degree to which they both shamelessly conflate cannabis with dangerous and deadly narcotics and the way they massage and misrepresent the science on the matter.

The Obama Administration’s policy to combat drugs in America, released last May and found here, is predicated upon dual overarching assumptions; that if a substance has been outlawed federally, then it is a harmful and addictive substance the legality of which cannot be reconsidered; and, that the use of banned substances is a fiscal drag on the US economy. Although Benvenuti did not weigh in on his views regarding how legal medical cannabis could possibly destroy the American economy, the representative’s conflation of the curative and fundamentally benign substance cannabis with the other widely known to be debilitating, addicting and life destroying drugs (some of which are legal, advertised on TV and sold at the local grocery) is as cynical, deceptive, fear mongering and propagandistic as our Democratic leader’s.

Beyond this, and most importantly as the Kentucky legislative hearing explored legalizing cannabis for medical use in the state, Benvenuti and Obama share a level of immorality that is chilling. I would speculate that the numbers of citizens begging their government to provide them or their suffering friends, siblings, children, and spouses the relief that medical cannabis offers could today fill thousands of Bluegrass State committee rooms.

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