Author of book claiming to ‘prove’ a link between the legislation of cannabis and a rise in violent crime receives death threats
- Alex Berenson said there is ‘conclusively’ a link which he sets out in his book
- ‘ I’ve been stunned by the backlash,’ the author said following the controversy
- The murder rate rose more than 44 per cent in Washington over four years
- He has branded the legislation of cannabis as ‘a catastrophic mistake’
- But critics of his book have branded it ‘reefer madness’
The author of a controversial new book that claims to ‘conclusively prove’ a link between the legalisation of marijuana and a rise in violent crime has received a torrent of death threats.
Alex Berenson, 46, analysed dozens of studies comparing murders and violent assaults in US states where marijuana is legal for his book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness And Violence.
But the married father of two said he was ‘unprepared’ for the backlash, including death threats on social media and people ringing his home to threaten his children.
‘You can never be prepared for death threats but I’ve been stunned by the backlash,’ he said.
Reflecting on the lessons from his research, he warned that the rush to legalise marijuana in the UK is a ‘catastrophic’ mistake, adding: ‘Those in the UK who are pushing to legalise cannabis should look at the US.
Alex Berenson claims to ‘conclusively prove’ a link between the legalisation of marijuana and a rise in violent crime
Tell Your Children The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence by Alex Berenson has sparked controversy which led his children to be threatened and for him to suffer death threats
He urged the UK to think twice before legalising marijuana as he claims it has had a knock-on effect on crime rates in the US
‘Study after study backs up the fact that states where marijuana has been legalised have suffered a sharp increase in crime.’
The first four states to legalise the drug – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington – have all seen a sharp increase in violent crime since doing so in 2014.
In Washington, the murder rate rose more than 44 per cent between 2013 and 2017.
But critics accuse Mr Berenson of ‘cherry picking’ statistics and describe his book as ‘reefer madness’, a reference to a 1930s film in which schoolchildren go mad after smoking marijuana. However, with the US cannabis industry now worth £39 billion a year, Mr Berenson said: ‘There is a rush to push through legislation in Britain because there are billions at stake.
He warned marijuana can cause paranoia and psychosis sparking violence
‘It’s a catastrophic mistake. When there’s a mass shooting, US pro-gun advocates come out and say, ‘It’s not guns that kill people, people kill people’. If someone proposed legalising guns on a mass scale in Britain, they’d be greeted with derision, but because marijuana is viewed as trendy and harmless it’s treated differently.’
He said that he had been inundated with calls from mothers who told him that their children had become psychotic after smoking marijuana.
‘It causes paranoia and psychosis and paranoia and psychosis cause violence,’ he said.
‘Does the UK really want to rush headlong into this?’