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Marijuana: Project SAM touts public-health approach to pot in fighting legalization

project sam logo.jpg
Photos below.
The signing of Amendment 64 has plenty of folks talking about marijuana legalization -- even the Obama administration drug czar. Project SAM, which will formally launch in Denver tomorrow, is against the wider availability of cannabis. But the group, whose acronym stands for "Smart Approach to Marijuana," also rejects claims from reformers that its solution to the pot problem is to force users into treatment and education classes.

This last assertion is made by Amendment 64 proponent and Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert in a press release and petition aimed at Project SAM member and former Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy; both are on view below. But the University of Florida's Kevin Sabet, a former drug-abuse consultant for the George W. Bush and Obama administrations and a SAM principal, rejects these claims.

kevin sabet.jpg
Kevin Sabet.
Reformers like Tvert "live off the false dichotomy that the only choices for policy are prohibition and incarceration or legalization," Sabet says. "But because we don't fit neatly in either basket, we're trying to have a rational conversation about marijuana in this country led by public health in a bipartisan way that learns from mistakes we made with alcohol and tobacco and also corrects the mistakes our current policy has."

Kennedy and Sabet, along with Dr. Christian Thurstone, a Denver-based addiction specialist and controversial member of the Marijuana archive: "Amendment 64 task force, are expected to be present at Project SAM's official debut event, slated for 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, January 10, at the Denver Press Club. (The gathering is limited to accredited media members.) And they're not the only high-profile figures on the SAM bandwagon. Also pitching in is Newsweek/Daily Beast columnist David Frum and Kimber Richter, a tobacco researcher with the University of Kansas.

What was the genesis for Project SAM?

"After the vote in Colorado and Washington, I got a call from Patrick Kennedy," Sabet replies. "He called me and said, 'I'm really concerned about how these laws are going to increase the permissiveness of marijuana in society,' especially for people in recovery, like himself, and the fact that this could lead to more problems."

patrick kennedy.jpg
Patrick Kennedy.
As you'll recall, Kennedy, son of the late senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, didn't seek re-election to Congress in 2010. He has acknowledged past struggles with alcohol and substances such as Oxycontin.

"We knew there were smarter approaches," Sabet goes on -- so he and Kennedy gathered together likeminded folks who agreed to take part in Project SAM. Together, they settled on four major areas of focus.

"First, we want to make sure that the evidence of public-health harms of marijuana is much more widely understood," Sabet says. "It's ironic that legalization has been in ascendance for the past fifteen years, and during that period, we've learned so much more about the negative harms of marijuana.

"Our second focus is to make sure we have a balanced policy. For example, we want to make sure people arrested for marijuana aren't stigmatized by that arrest. We don't want them to lose jobs in the future and have to go back into the illicit economy -- which is why we don't want the criminal justice system to be our knee-jerk response. We want public health to be that knee-jerk response."

How this public-health approach translates is open to dispute.

Continue to read more of our interview with Project SAM's Kevin Sabet.



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37 comments
shafferkj
shafferkj

Just so I'm clear, some guy from Florida, which ranks 40th in that nation for pubic health, is in OUR state to discuss public health. Ok, just wanted to make sure.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

A64, its authors, its proponents and the voters who approved it, clearly state that Marijuana use IS a Public Health and Safety problem ... so much so that NO ONE under 21 years old should be allowed ANY LAWFUL ACCESS to it -- not a single gram, not a single plant -- maintaining ALL CRIMINAL PENALTIES against such marijuana use.

A64 = Marijuana IS Harmful and Dangerous!


jondoenumber22000
jondoenumber22000

enter the statist authoritarian prohibitionist hypocrites and treatment
profiteer leeches. these scumbags lust for power and to control others
lives. the forced treatment scam is designed to keep people in the
system for life and to be constantly monitored by government lackeys
(tsa goons). it's  similar to the revolving door probation scam the NWO
currently runs but desperately wants to expand. legal prescription pill
users are the next victims they will  target. make no mistake, these
elitist totalitarian thugs  won't sleep until they get their police
state control grid operational. the 2nd amendment was put in place by
our hemp/marijuana growing founders to protect us from jack booted
tyrants like these SAM members.

mmjclones
mmjclones

Patrick, fulfill your destiny! Die young, horrifically and publicly. Just hurry up already!

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Tell everyone it makes your dick bigger & increases longevity .

ADVERTISE & COMMERCIALIZE the hell out of it during 9News broadcasts and in the Post .

They'll quit fucking around and the 'new' customers will keep more of the product in state .

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Project stick-head-in-the-sand is apparently really about reversing past due progress in drug policy.

Coloradans should be as unfriendly as possible toward Reefer Madness doctors.

Cannabis_College
Cannabis_College

these people have managed to make everyone think that a plant is a dangerous drug...what's next, they're gonna start outlawing animals because they might kill you???  http://420college.org

mike1963
mike1963

OK, so if you're an Alcoholic, or hooked on Tobacco, go find a little weed, and every time you think you need a drink, or whatever, smoke a bowl. You will be so glad you did, as will everyone who has to deal with you.

Joe Ponce de Carrano
Joe Ponce de Carrano

He must have financial interests that will get hurt. Just like the ruling elite to tell you what's up.

Joe Ponce de Carrano
Joe Ponce de Carrano

He must have financial interests that will get hurt. Just like the ruling elite to tell you what's up.

coloradommjpatient
coloradommjpatient

I wonder who is bankrolling this idiots? Big Pharma, Tobacco, Alcohol??? Probably all three and more! 

Danny Bastos
Danny Bastos

Hmm an alcoholic and oxycontin abuser is leading a Safer Marijuana Advocacy program? Hypocrite?

Rich Carollo
Rich Carollo

This from a guy living off a trust fund created from bootlegging and whoring.

tutonehcc
tutonehcc

Pot smoker, prohibitionist, reformer, doctor, educator, doesn't matter who is saying what...

The important part is everyone is talking about 'cannabis + Colorado'.  The times are exciting.

We are all on pot because pot rules everything around us!  Spend all your money on pot....

Let's all get high and have fun!

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

Michael, printing someone else's press release is not journalism, but your not a journalist so continue propagandizing.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@shafferkj There must be no alcohol-related troubles in Florida.

shafferkj
shafferkj

@DonkeyHotay Are you a third grader paid to write uninsightful, incorrect, and poorly written comments on A64 posts? 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident  ... and even as alcoholics, they accomplished more in their truncated lives than you ever will.

Go figure.

Monkey
Monkey

@coloradommjpatient Sounds like it's the drug addiction counselors who will most benefit. Don't send them to jail, send them to us, and we'll take the money, is what it sounds like to me. Everyone wants a slice of weed pie, I guess we'll see who grabs the biggest slice soon.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Rich Carollo  ... Jealous much?

ccapra
ccapra

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident Yes, they've killed themselves, others, sexually assulted countless individuals and made general assess out of themselves at every turn.  They've accomplished much. 

Go Figure.

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