kebin sabet on cannabis reform
kebin sabet on cannabis reform

The One Man Fighting to Keep Weed Illegal in America - Meet Kevin Sabet and His Misinformation Campaign about the Cannabis Plant

Kevin Sabet of SAM, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, preaches Reefer Madness myths from the 1950s.

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Sunday Jun 30, 2024

kevin sabet on marijuana reform

Analyzing SAM – Debunking the Latest Drivel from our favorite prohibitionist

As someone who has been closely following the evolving landscape of drug policy, I've witnessed the passionate advocacy for cannabis and psychedelic access. But for every step forward, there are those who dig in their heels, desperate to maintain the status quo. If you're familiar with my work, you know I've made it a point to fact-check and challenge the rhetoric of prohibitionists, particularly the organization SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).

In their latest crusade, SAM is raising alarms over the DEA's potential rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III. Now, let's be clear: cannabis doesn't belong in Schedule III – it should be completely descheduled. However, given the influence of figures like Kevin Sabet, who has financial stakes in keeping cannabis illegal, it's not surprising that Schedule III is the compromise on the table. I've previously written about how Schedule III is a sweet spot for Big Pharma, but Sabet and his crew are having none of it.

In this article, we're going to dive deep into SAM's recent statements, separating fact from fiction. It's crucial to bring truth and reason to this debate, especially when career ideologues are spreading misinformation. The stakes are high, and the public deserves an honest assessment of the situation.

So, let's roll up our sleeves and get to work. It's time to debunk the latest drivel from our favorite prohibitionists and shed some light on the real issues at play in this ongoing battle for drug policy reform.


Debunking the Lies

Let's dive into debunking these statements from Kevin Sabet and his colleagues at SAM:

  • "This is something that, you know, you could imagine a legalizer in their basement doing in 1978 based on research then," he said of the rescheduling recommendation. "This is not 2024. This is not how it's done. This is not what it is. So there are a lot of things we can do."

This statement reeks of outdated stereotypes and dismissive rhetoric. Sabet's characterization of cannabis advocates as "legalizers in their basement" is not only inaccurate but also deeply disrespectful.

 The modern cannabis reform movement includes a diverse array of professionals - doctors, lawyers, researchers, business leaders, and yes, everyday citizens who have seen the benefits of cannabis firsthand.

This kind of language is a cheap attempt to discredit serious, evidence-based advocacy. If similar rhetoric were applied to discussions of race or religion, it would rightly be called out as discriminatory and unacceptable.

  • "If you have any accepted medical use, you cannot be in Schedule I, you have to be in II or lower" he said as the meeting began, noting that despite the dangers of opioids, "fentanyl patches have been used in hospitals for decades." In terms of marijuana, however, "they've totally changed the criteria," Sabet argued later. "I mean, the studies they use to support medical use are a few very bad studies, basically. Literally a few very bad studies."

Sabet's claim about "a few very bad studies" is not just misleading - it's an outright falsehood. There are over 20,000 studies on cannabis, with a significant portion demonstrating clear medical benefits.

The human body has an endocannabinoid system that interacts with cannabis compounds, regulating various physiological processes. Research has shown cannabis can help with inflammation, depression, appetite stimulation, and more.

Even recreational users may benefit from neuroprotective effects, with studies indicating lower instances of cognitive decline in later life among regular users.

To dismiss this vast body of research as "a few very bad studies" is to ignore the rigorous work of countless scientists and medical professionals. While it's true that scientific processes aren't perfect, it's intellectually dishonest to cherry-pick negative studies while ignoring the overwhelming evidence of medical benefits.

  • Sabet and other panelists warned that the reform would allow the cannabis sector to expand, which they said would lead to more problematic use, more access to marijuana among teens and increased dangers on roadways.

These claims are speculative and contradict available data. Studies in states with legalized cannabis have not shown increases in problematic use.

Teen usage rates have remained stable or even decreased in some areas post-legalization. As for road safety, states like Washington and Colorado have actually seen a decline in traffic accidents since legalization. Sabet's fearmongering is not supported by real-world evidence.

  • "The big difference is the criminal penalties are generally unchanged," he said. "This idea that like, 'People in prison…,' like, 'We need to change our failed approach…"—it doesn't actually do that at all. And that's probably my biggest pet peeve with this, that it's being touted as we'll have fewer penalties. That's not what scheduling does. At all."

On this point, Sabet is actually correct, albeit for the wrong reasons. Schedule III is indeed a sweet spot for pharmaceutical companies, allowing them to benefit while maintaining many aspects of prohibition for everyone else.

This highlights why full descheduling and regulation is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform.

  • "I can't imagine FDA's gonna all of a sudden exercise their administrative power, that they haven't done, you know, ever on this issue, and go, you know, force pot shops to comply with Schedule III requirements," Sabet said.

Again, Sabet is inadvertently making a case for full descheduling. The FDA's limited ability to regulate the existing cannabis marketplace under Schedule III could lead to a confusing and potentially harmful regulatory environment. This underscores the need for a more comprehensive approach to cannabis policy.

  • "The first thing people should do if this ends up being, you know, what happens," he said during the meeting, "is asking the Biden administration and DOJ to enforce this change, to enforce Schedule III."

This statement from Sabet's colleague reveals the true agenda of prohibitionist groups. They see Schedule III as a potential weapon against legal cannabis businesses, aiming to stifle growth and create havoc in the industry.

 It's a clear indication that their goal isn't public health or safety, but rather the suppression of the cannabis industry at any cost.


What to do with the government?

As we've seen, prohibitionists like SAM aren't going to quietly fade away. Their ties to rehabilitation clinics that profit from court-mandated treatments, particularly for cannabis-related offenses, reveal the financial motivations behind their opposition. In light of this, it's crucial that we, as advocates for sensible cannabis policy, take strategic and decisive action. Here's what you can do:

  1. Contact Your Representatives: Don't just reach out once - make it a sustained effort. Call, email, and write letters to your local, state, and federal representatives. Make your voice heard so loudly and persistently that they can't ignore you. Remember, they work for you, and it's time they feel the pressure to truly represent their constituents' interests.

  2. Practice Civil Disobedience: If cannabis is rescheduled to Schedule III or II, but still doesn't reflect the reality of its safety and benefits, consider peaceful civil disobedience. Continue to use, grow, or distribute cannabis as you have been. Unjust laws require resistance, and history has shown that civil disobedience can be a powerful tool for change.

  3. Exercise Jury Nullification: If you find yourself on a jury for a cannabis-related case, remember your power of jury nullification. This means you can vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence, if you believe the law itself is unjust. It's a powerful, though controversial, tool that citizens can use to challenge unfair laws.

  4. Organize Locally: Don't underestimate the power of grassroots movements. Form or join local cannabis advocacy groups. Host educational events, participate in town halls, and engage with your community. The more people understand the truth about cannabis, the harder it becomes for prohibitionists to spread misinformation.

  5. Educate Others: Share factual, scientific information about cannabis with friends, family, and your community. Combat the stigma and myths with hard evidence. The more people understand the real benefits and minimal risks of cannabis, the more support we'll gain.

  6. Support Pro-Cannabis Businesses and Organizations: Put your money where your mouth is. Support businesses and organizations that align with your values on cannabis policy. This could mean buying from local dispensaries, donating to advocacy groups, or investing in cannabis-related startups.

  7. Vote: Perhaps most importantly, make your voice heard at the ballot box. Research candidates' positions on cannabis and vote for those who support sensible policies. Encourage others to do the same.

Remember, change doesn't happen by itself. If we want to see a fair and rational approach to cannabis policy, we need to be willing to fight for it. The prohibitionists aren't going to give up easily, so neither can we. Stay informed, stay active, and keep pushing for progress. The future of cannabis policy depends on our collective efforts.





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