The medical examiner who conducted Michael Brown's autopsy report has suggested that the fact that he had marijuana in his system could have made him "do things to a police officer that normally he would not have done."

The medical examiner who conducted Michael Brown's autopsy report has suggested that the fact that he had marijuana in his system could have made him "do things to a police officer that normally he would not have done."

Dr. Michael Baden, the medical examiner who made that claim, appeared on Fox News Monday night to theorize whether marijuana could have made Brown act erratically. Speaking to anchor Greta van Susteren, he said this:

Van Susteren: In terms of the toxicology—and I'll get to the bullet wounds in a second—does the fact that they found marijuana, does that exclude the fact that there might be other drugs in his system, or even that the marijuana was laced with anything? Is that the final analysis, or could there be more information to come in terms of the toxicology?

Baden: I don't know, because I haven't seen the toxicology report yet. That's part of the autopsy and that should be coming to the family in the next day or two.

Very important with marijuana is the levels of the different drugs that are present in marijuana to have an opinion as to whether or not he might have been affected by the marijuana, so that he may have been acting in a crazy way and may have done things to the police officer that normally he would not have done. Which would be the issue that might arise.

We're sure Dr. Baden's comments are well-intentioned, but they bring up a highly important point: It's time we stop using weed as an excuse for police brutality. Doing so is often a scapegoat that distracts from other,  more relevant issues.

We don't have to school you on marijuana usage facts. You know that weed doesn't cause dependence or negative health impacts. You know that it's not a gateway drug. You know that it can help treat cancerous tumors and has a slew of other positive health benefits. You know it has never killed anyone. And you know a majority of Americans support its legalization. Something so benign, widely used, and physiologically beneficial, should not be an excuse to justify policemen's abuse of power.

Regardless of what was, or was not, in Michael Brown's bloodstream at the time of death, acting "strange" or "crazy" is likewise a piss-poor excuse for ending someone's life. It shouldn't matter what's in your bloodstream, whether it's mescaline, alcohol, or pixie dust that fell to earth during an asteroid burnout; no one deserves to die for what they put in their own body. Especially when that most severe effect of that thing is usually over-analyzing Grateful Dead lyrics.

Furthermore, THC is present in your bloodstream for weeks after you use marijuana; it's not clear from Dr. Baden's autopsy if he was high at the time of his death, or whether he had smoked, oh, sometime in the last few weeks. So why is weed taking the blame?

Weed gets an unfair amount of negative credit for creating these situations. Can you imagine if the medical examiner found Wellbutrin or Adderall in Brown's bloodstream? Despite the fact that prescription drug abuse is the leading cause of injury death in the United States, killing more people than traffic accidents, it would hardly be news.

It's also worth noting that Michael Baden is an 80-year-old white man. During much of his life, marijuana has been vilified by the media and government. He was 36 when the U.S. passed The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, right alongside heroin and LSD. Of course it's his duty as a medical professional to keep up on current research (for example, that weed has never killed anyone and can tame seizures in children), but it's hard to dismiss decades worth of weed-phobia with someone who's spent a majority of their life thinking weed is on the same level as heroin.

It is, however, important to admit that marijuana isn't always used as a defense in police brutality cases. It has also been used to explain criminal deviance in cases that have nothing to with police brutality, like in the case of James Holmes, or in the Columbine shooting. But whether it's police brutality, social unrest, or senseless mass shootings we're talking about, there's no denying it can be a scapegoat to explain why someone deserves a harsh response. Whether that's good or bad is dependent on the situation, but we think it's fair to say that marijuana use is never the whole story.

It's time that science, not outdated police opinion, be the basis of whether or not marijuana is a contributing factor to police brutality cases. We should take a cue from the hauntingly similar case of Trayvon Martin, whose autopsy results also showed that he had used marijuana sometime in the weeks before his death. However, the science community overwhelmingly reacted to claims that his marijuana use contributed to his death as "laughable," saying it had "nothing to do" with the night he died. In that case, marijuana was not the reason why George Zimmerman was let off the hook, but it was used as a scapegoat by the prosecution to partially justify his actions.

That being said, vilification of marijuana could certainly go the other way as well. Many people are calling for drug testing of the officer that shot Michael Brown, and by the same logic used above, weed could be used to condemn him if it was found in his system as well. But that's no more fair than saying Michael Brown was acting erratically because he was high, a claim which is currently not supported by evidence other than his toxicology results. It seems that marijuana is just a factor that increases blame in either direction, obscuring more important factors like police training, the fact that Michael Brown was caught stealing cigars, or the existing racial tension in Ferguson.

Our country's attitude towards marijuana has shifted. It's time that our police shift their attitudes too (although legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington could indicate they're starting to). Because the last time we checked, "Protect and Serve" doesn't mean "Blame It on Weed."