Our Brilliant Country

Posted on August 5, 2010

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The New York Times reports today on state bans of artificial cannabinoids. On the street [and in newsrooms where journalists wish to appear as if they’ve been on the street], the drug is called K2. One ironic excerpt in the article, however, got my attention:

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that so far this year there have been 567 K2-related calls, up from 13 in 2009.

Like its home-grown sister, Mary Jane, K2 has a relatively low likelihood of sending folks to the emergency room, when you realize that this number is national, and that our nation contains nearly three million people. By contrast, in California alone,

…34,292 hospitalizations were due to illnesses or chronic conditions caused by alcohol consumption. This total is roughly 200 times the number of hospital admissions associated with marijuana.

Moreover, in 2006, alcohol was a factor in 1500 California vehicle fatalities.

That’s America. We’ve gotten ourselves into two wars concurrently; we’re destroying our coastal waters; we’re giving billions away to rich gambling addicts. And our national legal drug of choice—advertised to the point of propaganda on our most popular sporting events for kids of all ages—kills in various horrifying ways, tens of thousands of people yearly. But K2, a low-grade pot substitute that makes people want cheeseburgers, we’re on top of that.

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