Alex Berenson didn’t fully blame cannabis for the coronavirus outbreak, but he didn’t not blame it either.
Over the past couple weeks multiple local and state governments have labeled marijuana an “essential good” under shelter-in-place quarantine orders. In most places governments also removed delivery and pick-up restrictions placed on dispensaries, giving residents marijuana while maintaining proper social distancing practices. These actions signaled a confirmation by governing bodies that cannabis was a medical necessity and access should go uninterrupted.
Alex Berenson, author of the controversial book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, had a different outlook on marijuana in the time of coronavirus. He told FOX News host Laura Ingraham this week that maybe cannabis deserved partial blame for the outbreak.
“There’s a really strong correlation between the places that have the most cannabis use and the places where this epidemic has really taken off,” Berenson said. “Whether that’s New York City, the Bay Area, Seattle, Colorado…then Italy and Spain are the countries in Europe, along with France, that have the most [marijuana] use.
“Look, I think it would be irresponsible to say there’s any causation there,” he continued. “We don’t anything about this [virus]. And obviously a lot of older people who don’t use [cannabis] get very sick. But it’s very striking to me.”
Guest on Laura Ingraham tries to tie marijuana use to the Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/gIpYVV6ygD
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) March 25, 2020
Previously, Berenson linked last year’s school shootings in El Paso and Dayton to marijuana use as well. He referenced science from his book that smoking cannabis can cause psychosis in users. “Marijuana causes psychosis,” he writes. “Psychosis causes violence. The obvious implication is that marijuana causes violence.”
Scientists and experts have publicly denounced Berenson’s book, which they say draws faulty conclusions from medical literature. In an open letter to Berenson, 75 doctors and scholars from New York University, Harvard Medical School and Columbia University disputed the book’s claims, which they state are “based on a deeply inaccurate misreading of science.”
The letter reads, “We urge policymakers and the public to rely on scientific evidence, not flawed pop science and ideological polemics, in formulating their opinions about marijuana legalization.”