As science and technology continue to improve, knowledge is more available than ever before. Unfortunately, not everyone uses facts when making conclusions.
Because science and medicine have debunked the anti-marijuana propaganda of the 1930’s and 1940’s, the number of people who don’t believe that marijuana should be regulated and taxed is dwindling. Democrats and Republicans, Blacks and Whites, liberals and conservatives all agree that current marijuana policy is wasteful, obsolete and ineffective.
However, in the face of medicine, science, common sense, and economic feasibility, one group remains unabashed and undeterred.
This group is called Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or Project SAM. Project SAM’s leader, Kevin Sabet, is a former drug policy adviser to Gil Kerlikowske. Kevin Sabet is well-educated, well-connected, and puts on a good show.
Project SAM has a slick website and some ideas that looks great on paper – just like communism. Unfortunately, none of these “Smart Approaches” are smart when carefully examined.
Here are Kevin Sabet and Project SAM’s main points opposing marijuana legalization and his solutions:
1) Legalization will create ‘Big Marijuana’ similar to ‘Big Tobacco’.
2) Legalization encourages children to use marijuana.
3) Criminal penalties should be removed for adult marijuana use and replaced with mandatory rehabilitation programs.
Now, it’s time to explore how Kevin Sabet and Project SAM are charlatans trying to change the laws and make themselves a lot money while hiding behind the “it’s only about the kids” line.
Project SAM is correct in the assumption that legalizing marijuana will create ‘Big Marijuana.’ Americans buy about $40 billion/year worth of marijuana. Anytime you are dealing with $40 billion dollars you are going to have ‘Big Something.’
Apparently, Project SAM supports ‘Big Cartels’ and ‘Big Drug Dealers.’ Project SAM believes that at least $40 billion dollars/year should pass through our local economies, untaxed, to finance drug cartels and dope dealers.
Because have already learned from our mistakes with ‘Big Tobacco’, we can avoid these same problems by immediately regulating and taxing ‘Big Marijuana.’
When ‘Big Tobacco’ began behaving unethically and targeting children with ad campaigns like Joe Camel and Marlboro Man, we stopped them by imposing regulations on the industry.
We did not make tobacco illegal. We did not arrest tobacco users. We did not arrest tobacco company executives. We did not force tobacco users into rehab. We imposed regulations upon the entire industry.
Because of regulation and education, not prohibition and criminalization, the United States has the lowest tobacco use rate in our history.
This transitions nicely into the lie that legalizing marijuana will encourage kids to use it. Legalization doesn’t encourage children to do something, savvy advertising and marketing does. Tobacco is legal and its use is not socially acceptable or perceived as ‘cool’. You never see ads that make smoking cigarettes look cool. This isn’t because ‘Big Tobacco’ can’t afford that same ad agencies as ‘Big Alcohol’ or because they feel guilty selling poison, it is because we regulate where and how ‘Big Tobacco’ can advertise their products.
Under legalization and regulation, we can control the behavior of ‘Big Marijuana’. Drug cartels and drug tend not to respect laws and regulations. We can remove them from the industry via regulations. This is why legalizing and regulating marijuana is the only smart approach to marijuana.
The 2nd part of Project SAM’s plan is to decriminalize marijuana and replace criminal penalties is this: (This is copied directly from their website).
“That possession or use of a small amount of marijuana be a civil offense subject to a mandatory health screening and marijuana-education program as appropriate. Referrals to treatment and/or social-support services should be made if needed. The individual could even be monitored for 6-12 months in a probation program designed to prevent further drug use.”
This is a great idea. I have some questions about your program, SAM.
Who is going to pay for this marijuana education program? Who is going to pay for the 6-12 monitoring program?
Let me guess. The person who gets in trouble, right? But who pays if the offender can’t afford it?
Let me guess again. Us, the American taxpayers.
Project SAM solution to marijuana is the same as our current policy. They simply replace ‘jail’ with ‘marijuana education program’ and ‘probation’ with ‘probation’. Project SAM is simply ‘Big Rehab’ wanting to profit from cannabis users. Drug rehabilitation centers are one of the most profitable ‘revolving door’ businesses. With a success rate of about 3% and a drug that can’t kill the user, marijuana rehab facilities will make oodles of cash – especially when courts mandate entry. The only thing that is smart about Project SAM are the people who are going to make billions of dollars running Project SAM-based rehab facilities.
Most anti-marijuana groups base their opposition on misinformation.
Project SAM is more evil than the average ‘don’t legalize marijuana’ group because they are fabricating lies with the sole purpose of profit via rehab programs. They make a lot of press because their executive board is comprised of seasoned politicians who are professionals propagandists that know how to manipulate the uninformed.
Anti-cannabis groups depict ‘marijuana legalization’ as people growing weed in their backyard and selling it to anyone from their garage. This is absurd. Alcohol is legal, but that doesn’t mean that you are allowed to distill spirits and sell them out of your home. Guns are also legal, but that doesn’t mean you can make them in your basement and sell them on ebay. We can find examples of legal, but regulated, products everywhere.
Responsible and regulated cannabis legalization will solve all of the problems anti-marijuana groups cite as reasons not to legalize. Project SAM still exploits the fears of the uninformed by using scary words like “Big Marijuana.” They conveniently forget to mention the billions they will make with “Big Rehab.”
Tobacco has been legal for at least 400 years and I’ve never seen a tobacco plant or seed in real life and I live in the south. Marijuana has been illegal for 80 years and I’ve seen at least 10,000 plants. Regulation works much better than prohibition.
If the above examples haven’t convinced you that Project SAM uses deception as fact, let’s look at their some of the executive board and see if they have ulterior motives. Greed and dishonesty are ugly.
Patrick Kennedy, Chairman. He’s a politician.
If a representative of Project SAM disagrees with the truth, I would love to debate you.
By: Daniel Macris, founder and ceo of Halcyon Organics.
© 2014 Halcyon Organics