Marijuana is synonymous with peace, love, and tranquility, not blinding rage and fisticuffs. After all, when the average pot-smoker sees red, it's most likely in the bathroom mirror right before reaching for the Visine.
But is the hippy-dippy idea of marijuana users not being prone to violence – or even capable of it – real, or is it just a hefty line of gobbledygook perpetuated over the years?
Last week, a video surfaced from the MJBizCon in Las Vegas (the leading cannabis industry trade show) of a Futurola security guard beating the ever-living snot out of two men. There's no evidence these ruffians were drunk or stoned. However, the footage got the Twitterverse all bent out of shape because, well, a cannabis event shouldn’t allow people to buy alcoholic beverages.
Many commenters, presumably cannabis supporters, insist the dust-up couldn't have been related to the consumption of marijuana. It also couldn't have been because some meathead Chad was oozing testosterone and being a bully. No way! It had to be booze that caused this melee!
Even longtime cannabis industry celebrities took to the platform to blame demon alcohol for the raucous.
"I hereby request a petition to ban booze and include cannabis consumption next year," Andrew DeAngelo, co-founder of the California-based Harborside cannabis dispensary, wrote in a Tweet.
Violence and Booze vs. Violence and Weed
This has been the argument for decades: People who drink alcohol have a propensity for violence while cannabis consumers – all of them, no exceptions – are always going to sit back and laugh. "If there's a fight, you can bet that alcohol is involved," one reader told The Bluntness.
Listen, there's no arguing that this isn’t true in some cases. Many drinkers can't hold their liquor and will, nearly every time they have one too many, step outside the construct of civil society to raise hell. Meanwhile, as the legend of cool stoners often suggests, there will likely be some old head sitting in the corner of the bar wondering what the heck got that drunk dude so bent out of shape.
Still, many cannabis users like to think they're above violence. They believe, or at least they want others to buy into this lunacy, that by partaking in the herb, they have escaped the violent nature of their caveman DNA and won't totally try to knock another person's head off their shoulders if they dare step out of line.
But this attitude seems unrealistic, don't you think? After all, while the herb is known for mellowing out, it can't possibly dampen the animalistic instincts of humanity so much that it makes docile creatures out of the fiercest beasts on the planet, can it?
The Bluntness reached out to Dr. Carrie Cuttler, assistant professor at The Health and Cognition (THC) Lab at Washington State University, to see if we could get to the bottom of this dispute. It seems that while cannabis does provide users with mostly calming effects, it is still possible for cannabis users to get mad enough to fight.
"Acute cannabis intoxication is typically associated with feelings of reduced stress, euphoria, and relaxation," she told us. "But it is still certainly possible to get angry when under the influence of cannabis, especially for people prone to anger."
Recently, a group of cannabis consumers got honest with us about this controversial topic, admitting full on that being high wasn't always indicative of peace and love. At least, not in their world.
"Yes, we can even get angry enough while stoned to throw the first punch," a man named Aaron asserts.
Justin, a dispensary representative who was at last week's MJBizCon, concurred. "I know first-hand I can get that angry while high," he said.
Another man took it a step further by suggesting that it's not always the intoxicating substances we ingest that dictate how a person will react under certain circumstances. "I can definitely smoke and fight," he told us. "I don't think weed has any role in determining the outcome. Disrespectful behavior or someone's physical threats are always going to have the same outcome."
Let us not forget that many MMA fighters these days are regular cannabis users, and none of them are stepping into the octagon to hug an opponent. Also, Mike Tyson, arguably one of the most vocal cannabis supporters and industry leaders in the country right now, would beat the brakes off anyone who stepped into the ring.
Some People are Just Jerks
Marijuana doesn't take the fight out of the person who had a fight in them, to begin with. In some cases, the fight burning inside leads to a punch in the mouth. It can also be what drives ambition and an overall willingness to succeed. But then again, some people, regardless of whether they are cannabis consumers or not, are just jerks.
Like a Futurola security guard? Possibly.
It turns out, however, that the highly circulated fight footage from the 2021 MJBizCon had more to do with a bad business deal mixed with a lack of professional security protocols than anything related to the selling of alcoholic beverages.
"My business partner sent me the video while I attended the expo on another corner," a conference attendant told The Bluntness via an emailed statement. "He said it's about business dispute for both sides, and the security guys were forced to keep the order by aggressive action."
The day after the video was posted, MJBizDaily, the organizers of the event, issued a statement condemning the violence while also not accepting responsibility:
"MJBizCon knows an altercation occurred yesterday on the show floor involving individuals wearing "Security" shirts and at least two others. The individuals involved are not MJBizCon contractors, but rather, were retained by a vendor at the show for a celebrity event. We are so sad about this disruption to our community. The safety of everyone at the show is our top priority, and we mean to keep it that way."
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