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WIRE: NORML debunks Sean Spicer’s claims that cannabis leads to opioid abuse

Washington, DC — On Thursday, White House Press Secretary lied to the American public when he claimed “I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people (by regulating the adult use of marijuana)” during his daily press conference.

Sean Spicer

Paul Armentano, Deputy Director for NORML, published a response in The Hill newspaper systematically refuting this claim.

“Yet even a cursory look at the available evidence finds Spicer’s concerns to be misplaced and his allegations to be dead wrong.

In reality, permitting legal access to cannabis is consistently associated with reduced rates of opioid use, abuse, and mortality.”

Armentano cites several relevant peer-reviewed studies from the US, Canada, and Israel to bolster his arguments.

He concludes: “Proponents of marijuana prohibition have long alleged that experimentation with pot acts as a ‘gateway’ to the use and eventual abuse of other illicit substances. But the evidence does not support this claim. In reality, permitting marijuana sales to be regulated by licensed, state-authorized distributors rather than by criminal entrepreneurs and pushers of various other illicit drugs results in fewer, not more, Americans abusing other, potentially more dangerous substances.”

You can read the piece by clicking here.

About Paul Armentano:
Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. His writing and research have appeared in over 750 publications, scholarly and/or peer-reviewed journals, as well as in more than a dozen textbooks and anthologies. Mr. Armentano is the co-author of the book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (2009, Chelsea Green), which has been licensed and translated internationally. His most recent book, The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws (2015), is available from Whitman Publishing. He is the 2013 Freedom Law School Health Freedom Champion of the Year and the 2013 Alfred R. Lindesmith award recipient in the achievement in the field of scholarship.

For questions or to interview Paul Armentano, email  

For Immediate Release
Press Inquiries Contact:
Paul Armentano
NORML Deputy Director

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