What Carly Fiorina Missed When She Compared Marijuana to Beer

September 18th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Republican presidential primary candidate Carly Fiorina highlighted the dangers of substance abuse, and the need to invest more in effective and comprehensive drug treatment programs during Wednesday night's second Republican debate. On the question of whether or not marijuana should be legalized, Fiorina highlighted her own stepdaughter's tragic death in 2009, which resulted from struggles with alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, and bulimia—details she discussed in her recent book, "Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey."

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO used her daughter's death to suggest that legalizing marijuana, which she described as a gateway drug, would possibly lead to similar cases. She also reiterated the notion that young people need to be educated about how marijuana use should not be treated with the same frivolity as, say, beer consumption is.

"We are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer—it's not," Fiorina said.

Paradoxically, Fiorina is right: as ATTN: reported in February, research published in Scientific Reports, a subsidiary publication of the journal Nature, found alcohol to be about 114 times more deadly than marijuana. Researchers used calculations comparing lethal levels of ingestion for a range of controlled substances spanning alcohol, tobacco, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

Related: Marijuana Might Actually be an Anti-Gateway Drug

Study shows marijuana among the least deadly drug

Observers on social media were quick to call Fiorina out.