Kellyanne Conway mocked for relating opioid deaths to marijuana: ‘nonsense’

Kellyanne Conway was recently ridiculed for linking opioid deaths to marijuana, while attacking Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman for putting up a marijuana flag.

In a Fox News appearance Monday night, Conway, who served as senior counsel to former President Donald Trump, criticized Fetterman, a Democrat running for the Senate in the battlefield state, for displaying a marijuana flag outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg.

“He put up the marijuana flag. He thought that was funny. He’s trolling his opponent. He thinks that’s funny,” Conway said. “Here’s what’s not funny: that there has been a doubling of overdose deaths in Pennsylvania while he was in office from 2015 to 2021. Fentanyl is troubling every corner of this state.”

Fetterman has raised the flag to protest the criminalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania, where it is legal only for medical use. Decriminalization advocates argue that marijuana should be legal, giving adults the freedom to use cannabis without jail time and also disproportionately applying marijuana laws against people of color in the United States.

Kellyanne Conway speaks with reporters in Washington, DC, on May 23, 2019. Conway was recently mocked for reporting opioid deaths related to marijuana on Fox News Monday night during a discussion about Pennsylvania Governor John Fetterman flying a marijuana flag.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Critics called out Conway for appearing to confuse marijuana with the opioid epidemic because marijuana is not an opioid.

Marijuana can have harmful side effects, especially if taken by children, but fatal overdoses are extremely rare and it is not seen as a driver of the opioid epidemic like other drugs, including fentanyl.

“I thought [John Fetterman] set it up to protest the reprehensible stupidity of the US government spending $50 billion in taxpayers’ money on a marijuana crusade rife with hypocrisy. Who gets locked up? Black people. Marijuana and Fentanyl are as closely related as Coors Light.” tweeted Steve Schmidtwho co-founded the anti-Trump Lincoln Project with Conway’s husband George Conway.

“It’s all bullshit,” continued Schmidt. “Cannabis is legal in many states and has never killed anyone. [Kellyanne Conway] has less credibility than Trump and is perhaps the only American who is a true equal to his when it comes to lying. She sold America for fame and power. Not credible.”

political commentator Cheri James tweeted: “If the number of marijuana deaths doubled, the number would still be zero, you gaslight cartoon.”

“If you look very closely, you can almost see the imaginary line of marijuana overdose deaths on this graph of US government data from the past 22 years,” dr. Jorge Caballero tweeted sarcastically.

Fatal overdoses of marijuana are rare, but taking too much of the drug can lead to symptoms ranging from anxiety, panic attacks, vomiting, and hallucinations.

John Fetterman’s Chances of Winning in November

Conway’s comments come as Fetterman appears well-positioned to turn over the Pennsylvania Senate seat, currently held by Republican Pat Toomey. Fetterman takes on Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has been critical of marijuana use.

Despite President Joe Biden winning the state by just over one percentage point in 2020, Fetterman leads Oz by an average of seven points, according to a total of FiveThirtyEight polls. An Insider Advantage survey, conducted Sept. 23-24, found Fetterman to be a three-point lead, while a Marist College poll Sept. 19-22 found him ahead by 10 points.

News week reached out to Conway for comment.

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