An exploration of the link between teenage marijuana use and mental illness, and a hidden epidemic of violence caused by the drug—facts that the author believes have been ignored as the U.S. rushes to legalize cannabis.
Marijuana also causes psychosis. That last unpleasant truth underpins former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson’s argument in Tell Your Children. This book exposes the marijuana racket in the United States and Canada as being built on half-truths and outright lies ... Marijuana dependency is a real thing, and this book uses big data to highlight the shocking fact ... Tell Your Children will likely be seen by legalization supporters as Reefer Madness repackaged in a less pulpy gloss. They would be wrong, of course. Berenson’s book is a revelation that debunks most of the myths that far too many Americans have imbedded about ganja ... Sadly, Tell Your Children has all the markings of a book destined to fall on deaf ears ... but Berenson can at least take comfort in telling the truth ... Tell Your Children may just be the most important public policy book of the 21st century.
...this theory is deeply flawed. After five years of extensive reporting on the cannabis industry, it seems pretty clear that weed itself isn’t that dangerous ... hearing Berenson promote these distorted, dog-whistle conclusions, it left me with one question: is he trolling us? ... At this point, several experts have publicly debunked the book’s claims — much of which seems to be based on the common fallacy of mistaking correlation for causation ... The idea that weed causes psychosis and schizophrenia is Berenson’s core argument, and the research review Cooper refers to is an important piece of evidence for that argument ... it sure doesn’t look good when the people whose research you draw your conclusions from announce that you have misinterpreted their research ... If Berenson were genuinely concerned about public safety, he might acknowledge that illegal weed is more harmful than legal weed on the consumer end, as well ... to portray yourself as the patron saint of unheralded research, and then to have those researchers say that you completely misunderstood — it’s difficult for me to see Berenson as sincere ... You know who else is driven by profits to stretch the truth? Someone trying to sell copies of his book.
His central argument is best summarized in a few brief lines later in the book: 'Marijuana causes psychosis. Psychosis causes violence. The obvious implication is that marijuana causes violence' ... But as I read Berenson’s book, it was impossible to escape that, while a compelling read written by an experienced journalist, it is essentially an exercise in cherry-picking data and presenting correlation as causation ... the further I got into the book, the more it seemed like Berenson was imitating the strategy he’d meant to mock. Tell Your Children is Reefer Madness 2.0 ... Campos cautioned that he’s only read two photocopied pages from Berenson’s book in which he’s cited. But based on that, he said that Berenson 'pretty badly misrepresented' his argument ... On violence, Berenson’s case is even thinner, with large swaths of the book dedicated to anecdotes of people committing violent crimes, potentially while under the influence of marijuana ... Berenson brings up case after case of a brutal crime, then argues that the attacker had a history of marijuana use or used cannabis shortly before the attack. There’s no evidence marijuana caused the attack ... there are ways to write about all these issues while still capturing the nuance and detail they require ... I do not recommend Berenson’s book.