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New Group Opposes Marijuana Legalization Movement

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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.

28 Responses to this article

  1. Amanda / August 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    As a mother,doctor and U.S citizen I am appalled with the closed minded extremists who keep spewing biased views on a drug that is safer than alcohol and non habit forming like half of the pills administered.I am referring to actual people with cancer or epilepsy,that are in need of anything that can cease the pain. A little girl is living a normal life due to low THC Caniboid drops after suffering from several seizures a day thanks to Marijuana. Also many people forget that America is a free country,and that it’s citizens have the right to decide for themselves. Despite the propaganda and the smear campaign (date rape cookie? I am embarrassed for the opposition) many have experienced marijuana in some form,and are ambivalent to the drug. Having these views doesn’t make me a terrorist, it makes me a true American. Standing up for my and others beliefs and freedom to choose is what America was found on.

    • lanse dave / September 4, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      My other opinion is that Bill busting holds America down. Business owners have always taken a dollar out of circulation illegally. For their pride or to advertise the date of a numbered purchase. Seems irrelevant but it’s an arrested development and the American citizen has become so enabled by this that we invented the internet. The physics applies. Stop a certain amount of an object in motion and you create stretch or drag or friction or eventually all three. In the human body cholesterol and fat causes this same thing. Marijuana helps this by thinning the blood but diet is ultimately up to us. I smoked marijuana for at least ten years after a blood vessel constriction in my brain from getting hit by a drunk driver and literally dying and after years of smoking I stopped needing decoagulents all together and mostly marijuana to…technically I am still supposed to be smoking but I can’t afford it and my world view and stress has demolished my ability to put up a front to escape persecution by family for smoking though I am 34 and have a medical license and was treated with positive results by marijuana for years. It really helped me a lot in many ways. Which were ripped away by family and government funded mental poisoning…I mean literal poisoning…anyways, my point which never loses its edge since I’m so sharp myself……is that George Washington would break the law….but more impressively he’d break your heart because he’d do whatever the bell he wanted to….”all men are created equal” means nothing but that everyone will come down or up with something. Get your own bag. You don’t like Obama….you don’t like Osama…..you don’t care about the Dali lama heck you won’t even phone yer momma…the fad is a hoax and marijuana has 100% proven medicinal value….it always has…alcohol has anesthetising capabilities but the fad doesn’t license it or say it does….does it…..no…..trail mix is on the same level to the fda as medical marijuana or warehouse manufactured protein powder or weight loss supplements and vitamins…..I can go get depakote right now….Free…kill myself anytime…it’s an awful drug that should be illegal but it’s not because it has chemical shock that electrical shock can’t replicate…but it’s a deadly substance…trust me….Marijuana is fabulous…even when it’s not it’s still medicine and the public deserves to have access to it too…I’ve taken it and hated the effects but it’s better than poison and it doesn’t make society and worse or better because honestly….I think you’re all pretty high.

  2. John Smith / August 9, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Marijuana is the sole reason people kill each other in Mexico and have cartels there that try to supply this drug to the states. You all would rather get high then to put other peoples lives above your own. I will make it my personal quest to see this drug banished and outlawed in the U.S.A. by funding special interest groups that influence politicians in Washington D.C. and elsewhere. You do not need this drug. I lived my life without ever using it because I am smarter than the druggies that try to promote it use and legalization. You pro pot users support terrorism, plain and simple by supporting it use.

    • Ben / August 17, 2014 at 12:49 am

      Changing the way somebody thinks is a really difficult task, even more when they have a radical approach to the subject, so that is not my objective here, all i want is to mention that this drug cartels that kill each other in Mexico due to obvious drug dealing issue (most of it being cannabis) it’s because the lost war on drugs, a concept that has only brought the expansion of the things it tried to destroy, the use of this substance and the increasing wealth of those who tend to sell it illegally, what i am trying to say is that keeping “weed” illegal will make those cartels still doing what they do best, in the other hand, the legalization of “marihuana” will open dispensaries which will bring income to the state through high taxation, and by this being the legal mean to get the drug, people will tend to stop the need to acquire the drug throughout an illicit intermediary. Stating that you are smarter than someone else because you don’t consume a drug does not have any supporting argument, most world leaders have used substances like alcohol, tobacco, and even cannabis.
      Also, most of the cannabis used in the United States it’s made in the country or imported from Canada, the product made in Mexico is mostly delivered to Central and South America.

      Hope you stayed for the whole comment.

  3. John Smith / August 9, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Please keep this movement going. I am so tired of these kids today online saying that drugs, which marijuana is one, is good for the nation. We should be prosecuting these thugs and criminals , that use propaganda tactics saying that hemp should be decriminalized or legalized. There is no medical reason for this drug to be decriminalized or made legal.

  4. Linda Hamilton / July 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    What? Patrick, what are you thinking?????

    Do you do no research on anything before you open your mouth and support stuff.
    Have you any idea what legalizing marijuana (and hemp) would do for this country? It would: A) Provide jobs; B) Boost the economy; C) Save our forests (paper from hemp); D) Bring some manufacturing back to the US (with the use of hemp and hemp products, not to mention farms growing it); E) Reduce our prison population which would, in turn: 1) save the taxpayers money where prison costs are concerned, 2) reduce costs of public assistance by returning fathers to their families to help support them, and 3) having fathers present to help raise more rounded children and more productive adults, 4)
    provide millions of dollars to be put into other needed programs in this country such as education, renewable power and infrastructure and 5) Make it easier to procure and cheaper for people who need it marijuana for medical reasons. Don’t you know the huge number of people in prison on nothing more than possessing pot? AND, and this is very important, pot does not lead to harder drugs, nor does it harm the individual using it in any way unless they are under 14 years of age. These are only the benefits I can provide off the top of my head. There are more and a lot of those mentioned would act as a catalyst for additional benefits. I don’t understand WHY you would oppose this. It would make more sense to oppose alcohol with which people destroy their bodies, their families and cause the deaths of themselves and others. What are the statistics on people dying as a direct result of pot. Legalization is NOT going to protect children. The children who will get their hands on pot, will continue to do so. Hasn’t the “war on drugs” taught you anything?????? You are barking up the wrong freaking tree. Parents must start protecting and instructing their children!!! Hey, some of the funds available from the legalization of pot could create and support parenting clinics!!! When are all of you politicians going to STOP fixing the bridge on the road to avoid boat accidents????? Are you in bed with the corporations who currently own the prison system?????
    Sincerely,
    Linda Hamilton
    (who happens to be 65 years old and doesn’t smoke pot!)

    • John Smith / August 9, 2014 at 1:47 am

      No one wants to hear from a pro legalizing statement saying durrr, Pot does this and that. It is a drug where people make excuses to abuse, just like any other drug. Go sit down and shut up kid. No one is going to ever make it legal. I rather see every drug criminal like you that supports drug use and by doing so also supports crime and criminals jailed. You fuel hate and war in mexico with the cartels for your fix, which marijuana does. It is a disgusting habit to influence your mind because you are too weak to cope with life. Right now I am going to donate 1 billion dollars of our families funds to fight against this legalization anywhere in the states of the U.S.A. , especially Colorado. It is against federal law, and the states can not upsurp Federal law on this matter.

  5. Ben Allen / June 2, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Why would anyone be against legalization? Literally every argument against it is a lie. It is not addictive, it does not cause cancer or lung disease, it does not cause schizophrenia or any other mental disorder, it does not increase apathy, it does not impair judgment, it does not impair your ability to drive, it does not harm the brain or kill brain cells.

    When I was a kid, I even had people tell me that smoking marijuana would cause men to develop breasts. It would be funny that people actually believe this garbage if it wasn’t sad.

    Seriously, not a single argument against legalization holds up against honest scrutiny. Stop lying.

    • Dave / July 15, 2014 at 9:57 am

      The reason people would be against legalization are several. The main reason the majority of prohibitionists favor the “statist quo” is because they learned everything they know about cannabis from government-sponsored propaganda along the lines of Reefer Madness. If you look at the demographics, older people are more likely to support prohibition and that supports the hypothesis that many prohibitionists are just victims of deliberate misinformation. On top of those terrified masses are the financially motivated individuals whose livelihoods depend on the prohibition economy. This includes most notably law enforcement, whose objectivity has been seriously and diabolically undermined by the DEA’s policies on asset forfeiture. But the group also includes organized criminal organizations, pharmaceutical and alcohol companies (whose products will compete with cannabis), drug treatment and rehabilitation clinics (who often rely on court-ordered treatment for casual cannabis users who do not require treatment), testing laboratories, prison guards and the for-profit companies that often employ them, lawyers who profit by either prosecuting or defending cannabis users, Mexican cartels, and the list goes on and on.

  6. BossIlluminati / May 21, 2014 at 10:51 am

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy….#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed

    “any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death” – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

    Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
    Deaths by Tobacco: Millions
    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
    Deaths by Guns: Millions
    Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
    Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever…they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever

  7. Avatar of Selina
    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.

  8. Avatar of Helene
    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 / July 15, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Pot doesn’t have to be harmless in order for legalization to be the correct course. It just has to be less harmful than prohibition, which it clearly is. So I’m sorry your comment is completely ineffective.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    • Dave / July 15, 2014 at 10:05 am

      You are missing the point entirely, deliberately I suspect. The question we need to ask is this: is a legalized and regulated cannabis market more or less harmful to society then the current “statist quo” in which people’s lives are ruined over victimless behavior. The answer is clear: prohibition has wrecked havoc on the lives of our young people, on the rights of Americans, on the safety and social order of our urban areas and even neighboring countries which are plagued by criminals determined to take advantage of the black market bonanza that our drug laws have created. Anyone who thinks legalization is worse than what is going on now under the boot heels of prohibitionists is either not thinking clearly or completely uneducated about the dangers of prohibition. Or else they are dependent on the prohibition economy.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    Agreed! What can we do to support this cause?

  14. 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.

  15. 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!!!!!!!

  16. Avatar of Chris
    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

  17. Chris / January 15, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Sorry bro enemy Territory case of friendly fire…..

    “Friendly fire…isnt”
    Unknown soldier

  18. Chris / January 15, 2013 at 7:16 am

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

  19. Chris / January 15, 2013 at 7:18 am

    And its safer than caffeine….

  20. Avatar of Joey
    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)

  21. Avatar of pommeroie
    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.

  22. Avatar of Dave K, Phoenix, AZ
    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.

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