By German Lopez for vox. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Saturday made the most incorrect statement possible about drug policy.
It is difficult to overstate just how wrong Harper is. Tobacco’s health effects cause 37,000 deaths in Canada each year — an astonishing 17 percent of all deaths in the country. Marijuana, meanwhile, has never been conclusively linked to any deaths from direct health effects. Even the scientific evidence on whether pot causes lung damage when smoked is mixed, with studies that control for tobacco smoking finding no significant effect from marijuana on lung cancer risk.
One caveat: A very small number of people likely die due to accidents while under the effects of marijuana. But this data isn’t reliably tracked, and there’s still some debate about whether pot even significantly increases this risk.