Pot or Peanuts?

It is so addicting and provides me with no health benefits, but it is so good. No, not smoking pot, but eating peanuts.

I love going to restaurants like Five Guys and Texas Roadhouse because they have free all-you-can-eat peanuts that you can munch on while you are waiting for your meal. I usually eat so many that I cannot finish the lunch or dinner that I ordered.

Unfortunately, some people can’t enjoy peanuts like I can because they have a peanut allergy.

According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization—whose mission is “to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments”—there are “32 million Americans with food allergies, including those at risk for anaphylaxis.” A peanut allergy “is one of the most common food allergies.” The FARE website has some important information about peanuts and peanut allergies: The Free Society Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $13.55 Buy New $17.54 (as of 04:55 UTC - Details)

  • Peanuts are not the same as tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.), which grow on trees. Peanuts grow underground and are part of a different plant family, the legumes. Other examples of legumes include beans, peas, lentils and soybeans.
  • Being allergic to peanuts does not mean you have a greater chance of being allergic to another legume.
  • Peanuts can cause a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Allergic reactions can be unpredictable, and even very small amounts of peanut can cause one.
  • Casual skin contact is less likely to trigger a severe reaction. But casual contact can become a problem if the affected area then touches the eyes, nose or mouth.
  • To prevent a reaction, it is very important that you avoid peanut and peanut products. Always read food labels to identify peanut ingredients.
  • If you are allergic to peanuts, you have a 25 to 40 percent higher chance of also being allergic to tree nuts. Also, peanuts and tree nuts often touch one another during manufacturing and serving processes.

I didn’t know that “peanuts are one of the eight major allergens that must be listed on packaged foods sold in the U.S., as required by federal law.” I also didn’t know that those with peanut allergies should “avoid foods that contain peanuts or any of these ingredients”:

  • Arachis oil (another name for peanut oil)
  • Artificial nuts
  • Beer nuts
  • Cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil
  • Goobers
  • Ground nuts
  • Lupin (or lupine)—which is becoming a common flour substitute in gluten-free food. Mandelonas (peanuts soaked in almond flavoring)
  • Mixed nuts
  • Monkey nuts
  • Nut meat
  • Nut pieces
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanut flour
  • Peanut protein hydrolysate

Due to the possibility of cross-contact between foods, other possible sources of peanuts include:

  • African, Asian, and Mexican restaurant food
  • Alternative nut butters, such as soy nut butter or sunflower seed butter
  • Candy (including chocolate candy)
  • Chili
  • Egg rolls
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Glazes and marinades
  • Ice creams
  • Marzipan
  • Nougat
  • Pancakes
  • Pet food
  • Sauces such as chili sauce, hot sauce, pesto, gravy, mole sauce and salad dressing
  • Specialty pizzas
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweets such as pudding, cookies, baked goods, pies and hot chocolate
  • Vegetarian food products, especially those advertised as meat substitutes

FARE claims that “allergy to peanuts appears to be on the rise in children.” According to one of its studies: “The number of children in the U.S. with peanut allergy more than tripled between 1997 and 2008.” And studies show that only “about 20 percent of children with peanut allergy do eventually outgrow their allergy.” Gun Control and the Se... Laurence M. Vance Buy New $5.95 (as of 11:36 UTC - Details)

Both children and adults with peanut allergies have died from being exposed to peanuts. Yet, according to the federal government, no children or adults have ever died from smoking pot. That’s right, according to Drugs of Abuse: A DEA Resource Guide, produced and published by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, on page 76, under the question about the overdose effects of marijuana, it states: “No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.”

The federal government doesn’t ban peanuts or arrest and imprison anyone for eating or selling them, but it classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801) with “a high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and “a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.” Under federal law, possession of marijuana is punishable by a jail sentence not to exceed one year and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction, with increasing penalties for subsequent convictions.

The conclusion is inescapable. Because of the dangers of peanuts, the federal government should ban the planting, growing, harvesting, processing, distributing, buying, selling, possessing, and eating of peanuts or anything made with peanuts. Peanut traffickers should sentenced to long prison terms and have all of their ill-gotten wealth confiscated. No more peanuts on airplane flights. No more peanuts at restaurants. No more peanut butter for kid’s lunches.

But, some people say, it is dangerous to do a lot of things, like use a chainsaw; the government should ban smoking pot because it is immoral. Then why all the articles by conservatives about the dangers of marijuana? Like this recent one.

This, of course, does not mean that using marijuana is safe, medically beneficial, recommended, or moral. It just means that the federal government should have a war on peanuts if it is going to have a war on pot.