If recreational marijuana is going to continue to thrive, it will need facts and good reporting. With that in mind, we’ve produced a series focusing on two important subjects: how to gauge the validity of marijuana news articles, and tips on the telltale signs that an article might have an agenda other than to inform. This is part 3 of 3 -- click here for parts 1 & 2!
Headlines and citations aside, sometimes you have to look beyond the data itself to be able to decide whether or not the conclusion being drawn is a sound one.
Follow the Money
This is key no matter where you’re getting your information. Whether it’s coming straight from a study in a research journal, a news outlet, or even this blog you’re reading right now, every piece of content is published with some sort of agenda in mind.
For example, Sierra High’s mission is two-fold. We try our best to educate consumers about the cannabis industry with as much transparency as possible, but we are also in pre-production for a product that’ll go on dispensary shelves. As a result, our content tends to skew more pro-marijuana, and we write about edibles more often than many other cannabis companies.
Seeking out the funding behind informational content often provides essential context. KnowMJ.org, the site we profiled in part 1 of this series, lists two supporting agencies. The first is Join Together Northern Nevada, a community-based organization whose tagline is “Building Partnerships for a Healthy Community.” While this looks like a commendable goal, they specifically define a “healthy community” as one that is free of all drugs, including cannabis. The second is the Nevada Statewide Coalition Partnership, a vaguely titled organization that appears to concern itself primarily with preventing and treating drug addiction in Nevada. On the other hand, part 2’s Foundation for a Drug-Free World does not openly list its backers, but is known to be owned and operated by the Church of Scientology.
The organizations aren’t inherently “bad” — they clearly care deeply about protecting their communities from the very real dangers of addiction. But their perspectives on marijuana legalization and use are directly informed by their blanket anti-drug missions, and their editorial agenda is affected as a result.
As you traverse the wilds of the internet in search of information you can trust, we hope you’ll take these guidelines with you. Go forth, be skeptical, and keep your wits about you: you never know what you might encounter.
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