Once again, Kevin Sabet — the go-to guy to defend the drug war only 7% of Americans support — is back to confuse and frighten you, dear reader. It seems more than half of you out there (well, way more than half of you here) want to legalize marijuana, and in two states, you did. Four out of five of you believe marijuana should be made legal for medical uses, and in eighteen states and DC, you made it so. More than half of you believe marijuana is safer than alcohol and 14% of you are smoking it this year. 2.8 million of you are smoking pot every day!
Something must be done. For the children. Of course.
Kevin’s latest propaganda campaign is called Project SAM – Smart Approaches to Marijuana. (The campaign to legalize marijuana in Colorado was “Smart Colorado”. The other campaign was “New Approach Washington”. Smoking weed makes you more creative, I guess.) I have been working overtime satirizing every single thing Kevin does through Project SAMUEL – Smart Approaches to Marijuana Use… Except Legalization, as well as Twitter and Facebook pages for SmartApproaches.
I do this because Kevin and his project, beneath all of the appeals to protecting the children, saving the addicts, and reducing the worst harms of the War on (Certain American Citizens Using Non-Pharmaceutical, Non-Alcoholic, Tobacco-Free) Drugs, still maintains the one key aspect that is so offensive:
American adults may not smoke marijuana.
Kevin likes to play in the realm of studies (I’ll get to those) and science (ditto) and very earnest explanations of how “lock’em up” is “too hard”, but “legalize it” is “too soft”. With Project SAM, Goldilocks has found the “just right” balance that cedes some of the most indefensible aspects of the drug war (like mandatory minimums) but keeps marijuana illegal, maintains the criminality of its users, stocks the prisons with its growers and sellers, continues to enrich Mexican cartels, and most of all, keeps the beds at the rehab centers owned by Project SAM’s Dr. Christian Thurstone filled with pot smokers who don’t need rehab (bonus – when they get out, they successfully beat their “addiction” and the rehab stats look great!)
To protect the children. Of course. I need to be put in a cage. Or at least a rehab. Where appropriate. As determined by… someone. And I still lose my drivers’ license, even if not driving, and get probation and pay fines and lose my weed, right?
It’s at about this point where Kevin sighs and wishes we would have a reasonable, polite, civilized, unemotional conversation about the issue. How could I be so unreasonable about my second-class citizenship? On Project SAM and Twitter, he whines about how the supporters of the right of adults to use a product safer than alcohol are so mean-spirited, how they offer false dichotomies, how people like me demonize him.
In the past few days I’ve read Project SAM’s David Frum explain how we can’t legalize marijuana because simple people wouldn’t be able to handle it. That I am “deluding myself” about my ability to handle my adult marijuana use (for 22 years, self-employed, no criminal record, no driving record). That pot smokers asking to be treated as legal equals of his cocktail drinking buddies is asking too much – “Surely, enough is enough?” (It’s not enough. And don’t call me Shirley.)
I’ve watched Naomi Schaefer Riley and Tucker Carlson (not Project SAM members, but echoing David Frum, albeit less tactfully) explain how marijuana legalization for adults would be disastrous because poor people, like my parents were, like I am, don’t teach their kids self-control. How parents from “those neighborhoods” don’t encourage their kids to strive for college or avoid alcohol and tobacco, so I must be coerced by force of law not to smoke pot.
I’ve listened to Project SAM’s Patrick Kennedy, who abandoned yachts and wrecked two cars in three weeks while high, yet never saw a jail cell, explaining why he supports a project that would continue raids to hasten the “end of “cannabis clubs” and so-called “dispensaries””. I’ve got friends doing prison time, cancer survivors who grew state-legal medical marijuana for cancer survivors, because of those raids. Sweet, kind, generous professionals who will emerge unemployable (convicted felons don’t get to be doctors and lawyers), bankrupted, and AARP-eligible.
Most of all, I’ve read every single word Kevin has authored on Project SAM, which advises that I am to be subject to “a civil offense subject to a mandatory health screening”, where my grower is committing “crimes and recommends that they remain misdemeanors or felonies”, where “perhaps marijuana-derived products could be afforded fast-track status in the FDA process” for my wife’s migraines and nausea, my friend’s kidney transplant pain, for little 7-year-old Alex’s autistic self-battering and little 7-year-old Mykayla’s leukemia chemo pain and nausea that they are all treating successfully and legally under Oregon law.
And I’m the one demonizing? Given what marijuana’s prohibition has done to the people I know and love, I’m being damn polite to the people who argue to maintain marijuana prohibition.
It’s at this point where Kevin will play the “false dichotomy” card, why, he doesn’t support prohibition, he’s not a drug warrior, why must we use “loaded language” to describe his support of not legalizing marijuana and continuing to use the force of law to coerce pot smokers and imprison pot growers? Why can’t we “engage with him in far more accurate and reasonable discussion?”
OK… as Captain Picard would say, “Engage!” (Here comes the science and studies. Refer back to Kevin’s piece to read what I’m responding to, point by point.)