On Pot and Conspiracy Theories

September 7, 2013

Conspiracy theories arise from a generalized paranoia within certain political groups. But what accounts for the paranoia?


The latest contemptible conspiracy theory ping-ponging around the Internet is the one which claims the Islamic terrorist bombings in Boston that killed three and maimed hundreds were actually staged by the Federal Government as an excuse to implement Martial Law.  As conspiracy theories go, there are usually several versions bandied about, and one unimaginably offensive account of the Boston attack actually purports that “Nobody Died in Boston.”  Just in case you’re tempted towards such conspiracy-oriented narratives, I’ve linked to an extremely graphic photo log of the death and carnage in Boston. I recommend that you don’t view these photographs if you are sensitive to such things, and please don’t let children view them. One conspiracy video from the Boston Marathon attack asserts that actors were used in the staging of the incident, actors who bear an eerie resemblance to those who took part in the “greatest hoax of 2012,” the Sandy Hook massacre.

Entrepreneurial conspiracy-believers hatched a cottage industry in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre of December, 2012, with dozens of convincing and well-produced videos exploring point by point how the whole thing was a set-up. Conspiracy videos  began showing up on Youtube and Vimeo within just days after the killings. Some of these conspiracy documentaries gained followers and credibility by simply questioning the details of the event without overtly claiming that the Newton shootings were a hoax. Others fully entered into an alternate universe where an entire town was taken over by actors directed by the Department of Homeland Security, and the shootings, the aftermath, and the reporting at all levels were staged.

As Obama’s former right-hand lackey, Rahm Emanuel, said, ” You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before,” modern conspiracy devotees, it seems, live by a similar aphorism; “Never let a crisis go to waste. Make it an opportunity to deny reality, draw attention to your cause, and put your personal paranoid delusions on the Internet where they will get millions of hits.”

Going back in time just a few months, the bowels of the Internet offered up the conspiracy theory alleging that the Aurora movie theater massacre was staged. After more than a decade of fatuous speculation, the classic “9/11 was an inside job” theory has been debunked many times. Nevertheless there is a significant political sect, the “Truthers,” who live and die by the belief that the attack on the World Trade Center was a sophisticated demolition job. For every national tragedy or political debacle there is a conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theories get their power from the iota of truth, however small, that most of them contain.  But the fuel feeding the flames of conspiracy theories is paranoia.

Conspiracy theories arise from a generalized paranoia within certain political groups, but what accounts for the paranoia? Even the casual observer of the conspiracy theory phenomenon can begin to connect the dots, beginning with the fact that most conspiracy theorists–most notably the 9/11 Truther Movement–come from the Ron Paul Libertarian body politic. Ron Paul is most famous for his exposure of “The Fed,” referring to the the private bank, “The Federal Reserve,” which has tremendous economic and political clout, acting as a governmental agency. He believes that a decades-old conspiracy is responsible for this banking behemoth, and the power it wields to create and destroy individuals and drive the global financial scene, to the detriment of the United States’ national sovereignty  The other interesting thing about Libertarians, though claiming to adhere to a form of Constitutional purism, is that they oppose governmental regulation of narcotics and recreational drugs, most especially pot. Libertarianism often comes from a hybrid of social liberalism and fiscal conservatism. With social liberalism–or the “get the government the hell out of my way” brand of Libertarianism, often comes a free-wheeling attitude towards illicit drugs. Ron Paul Libertarians have two major characteristics magnifying their conspiracy theory leanings; an essential mistrust of government–which is well-earned in the age of Obama–and pot-fueled paranoia.

The relationship between the regular use of marijuana and paranoia is well established.  Psychiatric effects of pot can range from euphoria to schizophrenia, but paranoia is almost always a factor in those who use often and for the long term. In my personal experience, the associates of mine who incline to “the government staged it” ilk of conspiracy theories are most often Libertarian pot smokers. My testimony is anecdotal, but the majority of conspiratorial thinkers clogging the Internet with obtuse issues from “chemtrails” to hapless assassins, drugged and controlled by the government, are coming primarily from the pot-puffing Paulite Libertarian end of the political spectrum.

Paranoia is not always a bad thing. The presence of the paranoid does not mean that the Federal Government, U.N., and one-worlders are not out to damage the United States of America and place its citizens in bondage of a sort. But those whose political platform is built on the theory that using cannabis is a civil right, tend to lack the lucidity needed for focused and cogent political discourse. Conspiracy theories arise partly from stray bits of evidence, a disconnect from the governed and the government, and the psychological effects of marijuana.

In the process of looking to Internet sources to prop up my pot and paranoia hypothesis, I found a post that reflects my musings. Interestingly enough it came from one of the same blogs that regularly expounds right-wing, Paulian conspiracies. The post reads:

Most serious conspiracy theorists that Ive [sic] met are almost always pot smokers. Most pot smokers that Ive [sic] met are heavy into conspiracy theories. Also a lot of longer term pot smokers that Ive [sic] known are often excessively paranoid people.

I couldn’t summarize it better. This insight from a contributor, and likely reader, of a conspiratorial thinker’s blog, is, in my opinion, quite accurate. Conspiracies exist, yes, but they require the full and confidential cooperation of everyone involved–which could be thousands of people–a massive effort on the parts of media, politicians, citizens, and various kinds of experts, technicians, and law enforcers, to stage atrocities in an effort to “wag the dog.” Occam’s razor tells us that level of connivance is night unto impossible, except in the alternate universe of altered states. The conspiracy theories of the 21st Century are essentially the fabrications of countless pot punchy paranoids.

by Marjorie Haun  9/7/10

  1. Rich


    I have nothing but the utmost respect for you as a conservative. I completely admire your passion, dedication, wit and courage. The man who first helped me open my eyes to Conservatism back in 95 was a man named Bob Enyart. He always said… “A Libertarian is just an immoral Conservative.” I think that sums it up pretty well.

    I am a fellow conservative. However, I do not drink. Instead I choose cannabis. Your article is well written. However your attack on cannabis consumers is, in my humble opinion, is unfounded, and is, quite ironically I might add, in and of itself, a bit of a conspiracy theory.

    Your attempt to depict cannabis consumers as irrational & paranoid by equating them with wild, unfounded conspiracies and those whom espouse them is unsubstantiated and unsupported. You mention pot smokers that you have met. But how many do you actually know? How many do you have as friends? Its my understanding that you are a Mormon. I respect Mormons for not drinking alcohol. In fact, I can honestly say that most Mormons I have met are good, kind people. I have a few Mormon friends that I have known for years. Does that mean that ALL Mormons are good, kind people? Absolutely not. Any more than ALL pot smokers are paranoid, delusional conspiracy theorists.

    Its my guess that you, as a Mormon have had to deal with social misperceptions and stigmas from societies, groups and individuals whom had preconceived notions of what the Mormon lifestyle is and is not. I, as a cannabis consumer, have had to deal with social misperceptions and stigmas from societies, groups and individuals whom had preconceived notions of what the Cannabis lifestyle is and is not.

    Its also my guess that you know quite a number of Conservatives who choose alcohol to recreate. I am a Conservative who chooses Cannabis instead of Alcohol. I am not the only one. At the end of your article, you mention “the alternate universe of altered states.” Well, Alcohol alters the state plenty.

    I’m not sure how many friends you have who consume cannabis. But I’d be willing to bet its not nearly the number of friends you have who consume alcohol.

    So, in closing, I’d like to simply say, in defense of Freedom, that I should not suffer discrimination for the lifestyle that I choose as a smoker, any more than you should suffer discrimination for the lifestyle that you choose as a Mormon. Many false labels have been unfairly applied to Mormons. I find it ironic you, a Mormon, are now doing the same to Cannabis consumers.

    Regardless, as a fellow Conservative, I thank you for all the hard work you have done and continue to do each and every day for conservative causes. You are an inspiration to myself and many other Conservatives.

    So, Anslinger-esque “Reefer Madness” notwithstanding… Keep up the great work, God Bless, & God Bless America.

    • Someone

      Everyone I know who peddles conspiracy theories are heavy pot smokers, or used to be. They are also unemployed and have had other problems in their life. I think it’s not necessarily the pot, but the individual suffering from anxiety and depression who seeks refuge in pot. But I can’t deny it, I googled “marijuana conspiracy theories” because quite literally everyone I know who is a “truther” is also a pot smoker and YouTube “researcher”.

  2. Henry Massingale

    I dont get high….
    as for the attack in Boston, after a little research…it would seem this was done and it may become the first of many more to come…

  3. […] knows stoners who aren’t conspiracy nuts, and conspiracy nuts who aren’t stoners; but it’s impossible to ignore the overlap. Maybe it’s because getting high and being a Truther both boil down to escaping […]

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