A Politician Claimed Prescription Drugs Have Killed 100,000 And Marijuana’s Killed Zero, Here’s The Straight Truth

The favorite stat of stoners worldwide is that ‘marijuana has never killed anyone’, and this has been tossed around for years with all sides of this claim being picked at by special interest groups. Recently, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (the same Gary Johnson whose SuperPAC spent $30K on dank memes) went on the record and made the claim that ‘prescription drugs kill 100,000 people per year, and there are no documented deaths due to marijuana’. This is a claim I’ve heard many times before but the timing of this statement and the man saying it has finally led to professional non-partisan fact checkers with big ass budgets to get involved.

Now, thanks to Politifact.com we once and for all have clarification on the claim that marijuana leads to deaths:

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration drug sheet for marijuana reports that no deaths from marijuana overdose have ever been recorded.
However, marijuana has played an indirect role in fatalities. Experts that we talked with agreed that the drug itself doesn’t cause major acute health problems and is far safer than other medications. However, they said that it can still dangerously inhibit someone’s ability to make safe decisions.

Johnson said that marijuana competes with “legal prescription drugs that statistically kill 100,000 people a year and there are no documented deaths due to marijuana.”
Marijuana is far less toxic than many prescription painkillers, which kill tens of thousands of people every year. Marijuana has never killed anyone through overdose, but Johnson’s vague claim leaves out the crucial fact that marijuana has played a role in accidental deaths. And the number of prescription drug deaths isn’t estimated to be as high as Johnson said.
The claim is partially accurate but leaves out important context. We rate his claim Half True.

So:

1) Marijuana has never led to any deaths by overdose.
2) Marijuana has indirectly led to many accidental deaths.
3) The claim of ‘100,000’ deaths by prescription drugs is grossly inflated but prescription drugs DO lead to many deaths on an annual basis.

If you now go forth into the world and claim that ‘prescription drugs kill 100,000 each year and marijuana kills zero’ you should know the whole truth, that marijuana leads to indirect deaths but not direct deaths like prescription drugs and you should know that figure of 100,000 is incorrect. Now, we can finally put this behind us.

For the full/complete analysis of this claim by Gary Johnson you can CLICK HERE to head on over to Politifact.com!

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Cass Anderson avatar
Cass Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of BroBible. He graduated from Florida State University, has been to more Phish concerts than he’d like to admit, and primarily specializes in Outdoor, Gear, and Whiskey-related content.