When it comes to canna law on the internet, half-truths might be a bigger problem than outright lies or mistakes.
Recently, our sister China Law Blog declared that China Law on the Internet Is All Wrong. As a lawyer who spends a lot of time working on China-related matters, I can confirm that there is a lot of wrong information online on China law. This got me thinking about the vast amount of information about canna law on the internet that is, well, wrong.
In many cases, however, the information is not entirely wrong: It may contain a kernel or two of correct information. These half-truths about canna law on the internet, however, may be more dangerous that outright mistakes. The latter is bound to raise more eyebrows, and to be in direct conflict with other information. Half-truths, on the other hand, are harder to detect, whether they concern canna law on the internet or other topics.
When it comes to canna law on the internet, most of the wrong information is not peddled on purpose. But this does not make it any less dangerous to those who rely on it. What is worse, the analytical tools that may serve someone well when trying to evaluate information about, say, politics or sports may be insufficient to avoid pitfalls. In some instances, even those writing about cannabis for respected sources lack the sufficient knowledge to accurately present information.
Sometimes, the half-truth (or half-lie) that is inherent in every half-truth does not consist of inaccurate information, but rather of omissions or unhelpful organization of information. For example, pointing out that hemp is excluded from the Controlled Substances Act definition of marihuana is factually correct. However, it remains unlawful to introduce many hemp CBD into interstate commerce, on account on the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). If an article mentions the first bit of information, but does not address the FDCA, then the reader may take away an unhelpful half-truth. Just check out this older post of ours.
For casual consumers of information, the half-truths on canna law on the internet are unlikely to be a huge deal. However, for those interested in active involvement in the cannabis industry, what is out there in cyberspace will simply not cut it.