Another recent development has been the formation of the PDFA (Partnership for a Drug Free America) in the media. PDFA, with primarily in-kind funding from ad agencies and media groups, makes available (free of charge to all broadcast and print media) slick public service ads directed primarily against marijuana.
In addition to releasing such meaningless drivel as an ad which shows a skillet (“This is drugs”) on which an egg is frying (“This is your brain. Get it?”), PDFA is not above lying outright in their ads.
Outraged researcher Dr. Donald Blum of the UCLA Neurological Studies Center told KABC news that the chart said to show the effects of marijuana actually shows the brain waves of someone in a deep sleep—or in a coma.
In one ad, the wreckage of a train is shown. Now, everyone will agree that no one should attempt to drive a train while high on marijuana. But a man’s voice says that anyone who tells you that “marijuana is harmless” is lying, because his wife was killed in a train accident caused by marijuana. This contradicts the direct sworn testimony of the engineer responsible for that disaster; that “this accident was not caused by marijuana.” And it deliberately ignores his admissions of drinking alcohol, snacking, watching TV, generally failing to pay adequate attention to his job, and deliberately jamming the train’s safety equipment prior to the accident. Yet, for years the PDFA has described this train accident as being marijuana-caused, even though the engineer was legally drunk and had lost his automobile driver’s license six times, including permanently, for drunken driving in the previous three years.
In another ad, a sad-looking couple is told that they cannot have children because the husband used to smoke pot. This is a direct contradiction both of the clinical evidence developed in nearly a century of cannabis studies and of the personal experiences of millions of Americans who have smoked cannabis and borne perfectly healthy children.
And in yet another ad, the group was so arrogant in putting out lies that it finally got into trouble. The ad showed two brain-wave charts which it said showed the brain waves of a 14-year-old “on marijuana.”
Outraged, researcher Dr. Donald Blum from the UCLA Neurological Studies Center told KABC-TV (Los Angeles) news November 2, 1989, that the chart actually shows the brain waves of someone in a deep sleep – or in a coma.
He said that he and other researchers had previously complained to the PDFA, and added that a cannabis user’s brain-wave charts are much different and have a well-known signature, due to years of research on the effects of cannabis on the brain.
Even after this public refutation, it took the station KABC-TV and the PDFA weeks to pull the spot, and no apology or retraction have yet been offered for the deceit. Despite having been ordered by the courts to stop, the PDFA has shown this ad continuously, on hundreds of TV channels, throughout the United States, for the last decade.*
*Groups including the American Hemp Council, the Family Council on Drug Awareness and Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) have decided to step up their pressure to expose PDFA lies and get their distortions banned from the airwaves or, better yet, replaced with accurate information on the medical, social and commercial uses of hemp.
Perhaps a more valid ad for the PDFA to produce and the networks to run would show a skillet (“This is the PDFA”) and an egg frying (“These are the facts”).