New Group Opposes Marijuana Legalization Movement

A group opposing marijuana legalization, called Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), is launching Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy, who has struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, chairs the organization.

Board members include former White House drug policy adviser Kevin Sabet and David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, the article notes. “Our country is about to go down the wrong road, in the opposite direction of sound mental health policy,” Kennedy told the AP. “It’s just shocking as a public health issue that we seem to be looking the other way as this legalization of marijuana becomes really glamorous.”

The group argues the country can tackle issues such as the racial disparities in arrest rates, and the lifelong stigma that can result from a marijuana conviction, without legalizing the drug. It hopes to raise money to oppose legalization efforts around the country, shape the new marijuana laws in Washington and Colorado, promote alternatives to jail time for marijuana users, and encourage scientific research on the effects of the drug.

Kennedy says low-level marijuana offenders should pay a fine instead of going to jail. He adds that if marijuana is more accessible, more people will experiment with it, including young people whose brains are still developing, and seem to be most susceptible to addiction. If a large marijuana industry is created, it could target teens in the same way tobacco companies have, Kennedy stated.

16 Responses to New Group Opposes Marijuana Legalization Movement

  1. Jean | January 10, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Finally!!!! So sick and tired of hearing from the high school students I work with how legalization of marijuana proves how ok it is …. it’s medical …. etc etc
    As an adolescent substance abuse counselor who sees the effects on many students AND their PARENTS and the coomunity in which they live . . . . . so happy to see this push back!!!!!!!

    • Joey | January 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Finally?!? “Former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy, who has struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, chairs the organization.” So kids who are under age and drinking alcohol is just fine with you? if you want to talk about Gateway drug, drink some alcohol and your Judgment is gone. Its the gateway drug and its legal (above 21), i did and most American’s probably drank before they were 21. This Kennedy is a full on hypocrite, tell me why Cannabis is schedule 1 which means NO MEDICAL VALUE and is as bad for you as heroin, Lsd, Pcp. The Government schedules Cocaine, Meth, opiates under Cannabis? so cannabis is worse for me and your kids in the classroom? if you dont understand the reality of PROHIBITION on Cannabis then your work is really just detrimental to the kids with real issues.
      AMERICANS WHO ACTUALLY CARE AND VOTED know there is better way. think of the positives instead of this 75 year old BS the Government has fed the U.S. Cannabis is much safer than Alcohol (smoking or inhaling is not good for your LUNGS i agree , but try vapor or edible’s)

    • pommeroie | March 26, 2013 at 11:24 am

      There is no scientific evidence supporting your claims. Most of it is hogwash pushed by the drug and paper industries trying to stamp out a very useful plant and create monopolies designed to enslave us in an unsustainable consumeristic black hole. Frankly, I might add, I’d rather my kid smoke pot than ingest half of the crap the FDA approves for human consumption. Don’t believe me? Look up aspertame, it happens to be the fecal matter of the e coli bacteria. Yum!
      Govern = Control
      Mente = the Mind
      Wake up.

  2. Mike | January 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I’m willing to let the data speak for itself. If predictions for revenue from legalization are accurate, youth substance abuse treatment providers in Wasington will have acces to 2-3x more funding for prevention and treatment programs than they have at present. Sky is falling doomsayers had their chance over the last 4 decades. Trying to address healthcare problems through punishment was a catastrophic failure. Treat those with an illness, leave the rest alone.

  3. Eric Wood | January 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Agreed! What can we do to support this cause?

  4. Ben House | January 10, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    As though kids have a hard time finding it now. The problem never has been the drug, it is the attitude. Stop the drug the attitude finds a new way to act out. This post is not a support of legalization; it is a call to realize they give us something to focus our emotion while refusing to look at what reason tells us is the problem.

    • Chris | January 15, 2013 at 7:15 am

      Sorry bro enemy Territory case of friendly fire…..

      “Friendly fire…isnt”
      Unknown soldier

  5. Carolyn Moore | January 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Over and over again, I have spoken out against alcohol and it seems it is only to deaf ears. It is so easy for people to fight legalization of marijuana but the most used drug of all is alcohol. How many teenagers use alcohol? How many are killed by alcohol each year? How many get it from their own homes or even their own parents? Do you know how many children die in car accidents each year where the adult driver had alcohol in their system? Alcohol doesn’t get the same attention simply because too many people like to drink it and don’t want to deal with problems with it. I won’t point fingers but how many that commented here drink alcohol? Please, please, please when you address this marijuana issue address the alcohol problem as well and do something about this problem which is far more serious. Prescription drug abuse is also rampant and that comes from medicine cabinets at home a lot of times. I am not necessarily for legailizing marijuana. I smoked it when I was a kid and now as a chronic pain patient I could get a prescription for it but choose not to. I do not agree on completely abolishing it because maybe their are some cancer patients, etc that really, really benefit from it. I feel that probably too many people have prescriptions for it in my state of Arizona and yes it ruins young developing brains. It also ruins old brains as well though and those brains ruin the young ones. Please deal with alcohol as a drug for the sake of our young people. And.. do not forget the involvement needed from the family UNIT and school counselors and teachers. Thank you for your time.I hope someone will pay attention to what I am saying some day.

    • Chris | January 15, 2013 at 7:16 am

      Google US Patent 6630507 its the government owned patent on medical marijuana

  6. Shattah206 | January 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Carolyn,

    Nobody is arguing that alcohol is not harmful, and exceedingly so. But to bring it up in the conversation regarding marijuana legalization is a red herring. We are not comparison shopping for which intoxicant we might legalize. The bane of alcohol is already here. The conversation is over whether we will add to that mess by legalizing another psychoactive substance. I agree with Mr. Kennedy (possibly the first time that phrase has ever been true!) that the very thought seems ludicrous. In the meantime, I am sorry if you have felt ignored. To answer your question, I think I had a beer last year, but I’m not sure. It might have been the year before. I certainly would not miss it if it were illegal.

    • Chris | January 15, 2013 at 6:31 am

      Well than at least make a correct argument……cannabis is not an intoxicant……because it would have to be toxic to the human body to be considered an intoxicant……

      Cannabis has zero toxicity level,by comparison one could over dose and die from the over consumption of water in a relative short time over a period of a few hours of large amounts of water consumption could result in dilutional hyponatremia, which can be fatal or leave the victim brain dead……

      There are exactly zero medical conditions that cover overdose of cannabis except for the use equals abuse stance…..other than that its a lie

  7. Ken Wolski | January 11, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I disagree with Mr. Kennedy. Our country is not “about to go down the wrong road” by legalizing marijuana. Our country has been on the wrong road for the past 75 years by criminalizing marijuana use and waging a war against those who use it, even those who use it on the advice of a physician. Marijuana is a relatively safe therapeutic agent for a wide variety of symptoms and conditions, and it is a far safer intoxicant than alcohol. Now SAM wants to force those found using it into treatment programs. This is nonsense. The addictive potential of marijuana is about equivalent to that of caffeine. And we do not, as a Society, arrest, imprison and fine caffeine addicts, or force them into treatment programs. If addiction is the problem our best model to contain this problem is nicotine. We have successfully reduced nicotine addiction in America, not by draconian penalties for possession and use, or by forced treatment, but by a program of honest education and the imposition of reasonable restrictions, funded in part by a series of use taxes.

    • Chris | January 15, 2013 at 7:18 am

      And its safer than caffeine….

  8. Helene | January 19, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Do not tell me “pot” is harmless. I have seen the effects of the addiction. Yes, addiction. Hello, addiction is a genetic disease so once you pick up anything, including that garbage weed, you set off the process. Read the literature. It’s bad enough that alcohol is ripping families apart, now we want to add stink weed to the mix. Finally, a group that opposes legalization.

    • Dave K, Phoenix, AZ | August 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      When I was completing my graduate school training in psychology in the early 1970′s someone stopped by all the professor’s offices and made sure that they understood about psychological addiction. They had to call marijuana addictive for it to fit into the new controlled substances act as most understood marijuana to be nonaddictive when compared to substances with severe physical reactions when use was discontinued like barbiturates, opiates, or alcohol. The facts are that addiction to marijuana occurs in fewer people than with most other drugs that cause addiction and the withdrawal of marijuana is much milder than it is from these other substances. 30% of the people who enter treatment for marijuana addiction haven’t even used marijuana in the preceding 30 days and less than 5% would choose to attend treatment for marijuana addiction if they had not been court ordered. I’m sorry that Helene has a problem but its just not true that when someone becomes addicted to one substance that they are suddenly addicted to all substances after they first try them. If Helene wants to go to treatment for her addiction I think she should go. For the vast majority of others it may not be needed. It is ludicrous for us to prohibit the use of marijuana and to use military style tactics to go after patients for the use of this substance. One person dies every nineteen minutes from a prescription drug overdose. No one in the recorded history of man has ever died solely from an overdose of marijuana and had that death recorded as such by a reputable medical institution. Spin it as you may, it just is not very addictive, nor is it toxic.

  9. Selina | January 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Addictive or not. I feel it is addictive and it is still a DRUG! It is mind alternating. I can’t imagine people working, driving and being positive role models for our youth or even their own children while being high. I do not approve of the message we are sending to our children. “That the use of drugs is ok”. Legalize one drug and then the fight begins to legalized more. I remain opposed to legalized marijuana.

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