At the center of the Marijuana Policy Project’s “controversial” ad at NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 was the claim that cannabis is less toxic than alcohol. It’s true–just ask the fact-checkers at Politifact–but the feds, unsurprisingly, are having none of it. The National Institute for Drug Abuse recently issued a statement reading, “Claiming that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol cannot be substantiated since each possess their own unique set of risks and consequences for a given individual.”

I appreciate the emphasis on the idea that different people react differently to the same substances, but still, this just isn’t true. Just look at the numbers of alcohol-related deaths (41,682 in 2010) versus cannabis-related deaths (zero in the same year), or this study, cited by Politifact, finding that the plant is “about 100 times safer” than alcohol.

“Our federal government has been exaggerating the harms of marijuana for decades, but at this point it has gone off the deep end,” Mason Tvert of the MPP told HuffPo regarding the feds’ claim. “NIDA’s statement that marijuana can be just as toxic as alcohol would be on par with the FDA announcing sushi is as fattening as fried chicken.”

(Photo: Emma and Kunley/Flickr)