I learned, for instance, that despite all those war movies, lying flat on the ground will not help you avoid shrapnel injuries when a grenade blows up nearby. I discovered that there is no musical note—the so-called “brown note”—on Earth that can make you poop your pants. And it was disappointing—but still enlightening—to learn that you can’t make an airplane from a cement mixer, trash bags and paper clips—no matter what that episode of MacGyver tells you.
And since we’re on the topic of myths and since it is May, this might be a good occasion to talk about Cinco de Mayo and bust a myth or two along the way. And again I’ll make the point that people believe what they want to believe . . . whether it’s true or not.
First, one of the common misconceptions of Cinco de Mayo is that it’s a big holiday in Mexico. ’Fraid not. Really, it’s more of an American holiday though it is (duh) rooted in one particular episode of Mexican history and has become a celebration of Mexican culture.
Another myth: Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. No dice. No, Mexico’s Independence Day is on Sept. 16 . . . though you don’t hear much about this day here in the U.S. of A, huh?
So what is Cinco de Mayo? Long story short: Cinco de Mayo (“fifth of May” in Spanish) marks the victory of Mexican forces in the state of Puebla over the French army on May 5, 1892. In Puebla, the official name of the holiday is (translated into English) The Day of the Battle of Puebla. This military victory was also a David-vs.-Goliath story: purportedly 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated a well-equipped French army of 8,000.
Oh, here’s another myth: Cinco de Mayo is only marginally significant to American history and culture. Not so, my friends. According to some scholars and historians, had Mexico not ultimately defeated the French and reclaimed its country, France would have continued unimpeded with its plans to arm Confederate forces. In other words, a Mexican defeat could very well have influenced the outcome of our Civil War.
Too bad marketing experts and alcohol lobbyists turned Cinco de Mayo into just another excuse to do Patrón shots.
So what’s the point of all this? Our medical marijuana world is confronted by myths on a daily basis. Myth: Marijuana is bad for you. Myth: Marijuana leads to crime. Myth: Marijuana has no medicinal value (this is the federal government’s favorite myth). Myth: Marijuana is a gateway drug. Myth: Marijuana is addictive. Myth: Marijuana kills brain cells.
Myth after myth after myth—and it’s up to us to discount and disprove them every step of the way. Patients, prove to people that marijuana is good for your health. Law enforcement, ’fess up and tell us how there is no connection between cannabis access and crime. Doctors and researchers, continue with your clinical studies and experiments that demonstrate marijuana has tremendous medicinal value. Activists and advocates, burn that “gateway drug” myth in effigy. Attorneys, entrepreneurs, professionals, demonstrate to the world that the MMJ industry is legitimate, credible—and legal.
Marijuana myths, consider yourselves busted.