COALITION OPPOSING MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION LAUNCHES NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TODAY IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), co-founded by Patrick Kennedy, organizes broad coalition and responds to recent legalization editorial
By Kevin Sabet
WASHINGTON- Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens, co-founded by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy and directed by former White House adviser Kevin A. Sabet, was joined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine and dozens of other groups in launching a new, full-page ad in the New York Times today in response to their recent pro-marijuana editorial.
The ad - "Perception/Reality"- depicts a young laid-back man's face ("perception") juxtaposed over the body of high-powered business executive's body ("reality") implying that if America is not careful, we will soon have a very large, powerful marijuana industry on our hands. It appears on page A5 today. Below the image, the copy reads:
"The legalization of marijuana means ushering in an entirely new group of corporations whose primary source of revenue is a highly habit-forming product. Sounds a lot like another industry we just put in its place. Many facts are being ignored by this and other news organizations. Go toGrassIsNotGreener.com to see why so many major medical associations oppose marijuana legalization."
The ad will also be used by local community groups, including SAM's 27 state affiliates, in order to educate the public on the reality of the marijuana industry. The ad links to a new online resource of information -www.GrassIsNotGreener.org -- which lists medical and other organizational opposition to legalization. The website also contains scientific papers and facts about marijuana, and will remain a resource for information on the emerging marijuana industry.
"In the marijuana business, the values of the flower children have been quickly replaced by the values of Wall St. power brokers," remarked Kevin A. Sabet, President and CEO of SAM. "We're on the brink of creating the next Big Tobacco. We feel like this is an important message most Americans have not considered."
The advertisement was supported by a diverse coalition, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), National Families in Action (NFIA), and others.
According to the National Institutes of Health, marijuana is addictive, reduces IQ, and contributes to car crashes. The American Medical Association released a statement recently opposing the legal sales of marijuana and calling the use of the drug "a public health concern."
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is supported by a scientific advisory board comprising the heads of major medical associations and widely respected national researchers and scientists.
The ad will be displayed in Saturday's edition of the New York Times and was funded by SAM, ASAM, NADCP, NFIA, and dozens of individual volunteers and community groups.
Project SAM, has four main goals:
* To inform public policy with the science of today's potent marijuana.
* To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
* To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
* To have an adult conversation about reducing the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
About Project SAM
Project SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. Project SAM has affiliates in 27 states, including Washington, Oregon, New York, California, Colorado, Vermont, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, and other jurisdictions.