Sabet on VP Harris reschedule weed
Sabet on VP Harris reschedule weed

The Scrooge of Cannabis Takes on VP Harris with Reefer Madness - Kevin Sabet Doesn't Like What Kamala Harris Said about Weed!

Kevin Sabet has long been the lone voice of Reefer Madness in the 21st century.

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Tuesday Apr 9, 2024

Sabet on rescheduling weed

Reginald vs The Scourge – Analyzing Sabet’s latest Reefer Madness


As an advocate for personal responsibility, bodily autonomy and freedom, I have made it my mission to challenge the stance of prohibition and counteract the misinformation that fuels it. The right of individuals to make informed choices about what they put into their own bodies is fundamental. Yet there are still vocal prohibition advocates who spread falsehoods and rely on fearmongering rather than facts. It's crucial that we critically examine their claims to determine if there is any real scientific and logical basis behind them.


For years, one of the loudest voices on the prohibition side has been Kevin Sabet and his organization SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Sabet recently co-authored an opinion piece in The Hill arguing against rescheduling cannabis and painting a dire picture of the supposed harms of legalization. But do his arguments hold up to scrutiny?


In this article, we're going to take a close look at the claims made in Sabet's latest letter, titled "Kamala Harris is gravely wrong about rescheduling marijuana." We'll see if there is factual merit behind the rhetoric, or if it's simply drug war propaganda fueled by ideology and vested interests.


To be clear, I hold no love for Vice President Harris given her history as a prosecutor who gleefully sent cannabis users to jail as California Attorney General. It pains me to have to defend her recent comments in favor of rescheduling. But intellectual honesty demands calling out Sabet's flawed arguments, even if Harris and I are strange bedfellows on this issue.


With over 90% of Americans now in favor of legal access to cannabis, at least for medical use, Sabet's prohibitionist views represent an increasingly marginalized fringe. Yet he still garners attention as the media's go-to "anti-pot" voice. So join me as we dissect his latest screed and I make the case for why his Reefer Madness mindset belongs in the dustbin of history.


As always, I approach this not as a blind defender of cannabis, but as someone who believes policy should be grounded in science, reason and human rights. Let's see if Sabet's arguments meet that bar.


Dissecting the Letter of Deceit

In order to save you all time from reading the Letter, I have gone through some of their arguments and come up with a response to each point. Mainly, I challenge their logic, their conclusion, and whether or not they have a bias in a particular arena.


Let’s go!



"First, we should address what Harris left unsaid. Since his election, Biden has demonstrated that criminal justice reform is possible without commercializing today’s industrialized, high-potency THC drugs or legalizing dangerous psychoactive drugs."


While President Biden has taken some symbolic steps towards cannabis reform, such as pardoning low-level federal possession offenses, his overall impact on the legal status of cannabis has been sorely lacking. The glaring elephant in the room is that cannabis remains a Schedule I substance under federal law, a classification reserved for drugs with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."


This scheduling is not only scientifically baseless, but a cruel joke to the millions of patients who rely on cannabis as a safer, less addictive alternative to prescription opioids and other pharmaceuticals for treating conditions like chronic pain, PTSD, epilepsy, and the side effects of chemotherapy. The medical applications of cannabis are extensively documented, with FDA-approved cannabinoid medications like Epidiolex and Marinol just the tip of the iceberg.


Moreover, the notion that cannabis belongs in the same category as heroin in terms of abuse potential is laughable when compared to the legal and widely available drug alcohol, which is far more toxic and addictive by any objective measure. The continued Schedule I status of cannabis is a relic of the racially and politically motivated War on Drugs, not a reflection of scientific reality.


While incremental criminal justice reforms are welcome, they don't address the root problem of cannabis' egregious misclassification, which perpetuates stigma, stifles research, and keeps the industry in a legal gray area. If the Biden administration is serious about righting the wrongs of the drug war and embracing an evidence-based approach, it must prioritize the descheduling of cannabis altogether.


Sadly, these glaring contradictions and the need for substantive change seem to be among the many things left "unsaid" by our political leaders, even as public opinion and state-level legalization increasingly leave federal prohibition behind. It's time for the Biden administration to match its rhetoric with bold action and consign cannabis prohibition to the dustbin of history where it belongs.


"There was no one representing social justice advocates, scientists and public health experts concerned about the harms of marijuana commercialization. Many of these experts have studied the socioeconomic effects of lax marijuana policies, including the fact that pot shops are often concentrated in and target poorer and non-white communities on purpose, much like menthol cigarettes target Black communities."


Kevin Sabet and his cohorts at SAM love to posture as champions of social justice, but their actions and affiliations tell a different story. It's high time we called out their cynical exploitation of marginalized communities as a cover for their true agenda - protecting the profits of the rehab industry that funds them.


Let's be clear: Sabet's organization has deep financial ties to the very same rehabilitation clinics that benefit from the court-ordered treatment of cannabis users caught up in the criminal justice system. These are the same clinics that are often in cozy partnership with the state, creating a perverse incentive to keep cannabis criminalized and the treatment beds filled. So when Sabet sheds crocodile tears over the impact of legalization on disadvantaged populations, forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical of his sincerity.


If Sabet and friends truly cared about social justice, they'd be working to dismantle the racist and classist drug war policies that have devastated communities of color, not fighting to preserve them. They'd be advocating for restorative justice, expungement of past convictions, and equitable access to the legal cannabis industry, not scaremongering about the supposed harms of legalization.


I’m all for an honest, evidence-based discussion about the public health implications of cannabis policy. Sabet claims to have science on his side? Great - let's see him square off against the countless medical professionals and researchers who have attested to the therapeutic potential and relative safety of cannabis compared to legal substances like alcohol and tobacco. I'll bring my experts, he can bring his, and we'll see whose arguments hold up to scrutiny.


Of course, no policy is without trade-offs and the transition to a legal, regulated cannabis market is no exception. There will undoubtedly be some unforeseen consequences and challenges along the way. But when we weigh the evidence objectively, it's clear that the overall societal benefits of ending prohibition - from reducing incarceration to generating tax revenue to weakening the illicit market - far outweigh the potential downsides.


So spare me the social justice smokescreen, Kevin. It's time to have an honest conversation about cannabis policy, one grounded in science, compassion, and a genuine commitment to righting the wrongs of the failed war on drugs. The American people are ready for change - the question is, are you?


"While Biden should be praised for his stance opposing legalization and supporting expungement and removing penalties, rescheduling marijuana would be an abandonment of his efforts to keep drugs off our streets"


Your claim that rescheduling cannabis would undermine efforts to "keep drugs off our streets" would be laughable if the consequences of this thinking weren't so tragic. News flash: after decades of prohibition and trillions of dollars wasted on enforcement, drugs are more readily available than ever. If you don't believe me, just ask any high schooler how long it would take them to score some molly or a vape pen. Spoiler alert: probably less time than it takes to get a pizza delivered.


The painful reality is that the War on Drugs has been an abject failure by every conceivable metric. Despite the tireless efforts of the DEA and other law enforcement agencies, the illicit drug trade continues to thrive, with devastating consequences for public health and safety. Overdose deaths are at record highs, cartels are raking in billions, and marginalized communities bear the brunt of the violence and incarceration that prohibition fuels.


It's time to face the facts, Kevin. We can't arrest and incarcerate our way out of this crisis. The only way to truly get drugs under control is to bring them out of the shadows and into a system of strict regulation and oversight. By legalizing and regulating substances like cannabis, we can ensure that adults have access to safe, lab-tested products while keeping them out of the hands of minors. We can redirect law enforcement resources toward more serious crimes, and use the tax revenue generated by legal sales to fund education, prevention, and treatment programs.


This isn't some radical, untested idea - it's the approach that's already working in countries like Portugal, where decriminalization has led to dramatic reductions in overdose deaths, HIV transmission rates, and drug-related crime. It's the direction that more and more U.S. states are moving in with cannabis, as they recognize the failure of prohibition and the benefits of regulation.


Don't just take my word for it. Let's look at the data from states that have already legalized cannabis. Teen use has remained stable or even declined, opioid prescriptions and overdoses have fallen, and billions in tax revenue have been generated for public services. The sky hasn't fallen, Kevin - in fact, by most measures, the situation has improved.


So please, spare us the fear-mongering about legal cannabis flooding the streets with drugs. The streets are already flooded, and it's prohibition that's keeping the cartels in business. It's time for a new approach, one grounded in harm reduction, public health, and respect for individual liberty. The mission of the drug war has failed - it's time to evolve. The question is, Kevin, are you ready to join us in the 21st century, or will you keep clinging to the failed policies of the past?


"Drug scheduling is not a harm index. It is a legal term that categorizes drugs based on medical benefit and potential for abuse. From a scientific basis, marijuana fails to meet the statutory requirements for any schedule other than Schedule I."


Kevin, your claim that cannabis meets the criteria for Schedule I would be almost impressive in its sheer audacity if it weren't so easily debunked by even a cursory glance at the scientific literature and real-world evidence.


Let's start with the FDA-approved cannabinoid medications Epidiolex and Marinol, which are prescribed for conditions like epilepsy and chemotherapy-induced nausea. How exactly do these fit into your narrative that cannabis has "no currently accepted medical use"? Are you suggesting that the FDA is in on some vast stoner conspiracy?


And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the medical applications of cannabis. Countless studies have documented its efficacy in treating chronic pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, PTSD, and a host of other conditions. In states with medical cannabis programs, patients are using it as a safer alternative to prescription opioids, with many able to reduce or eliminate their use of these highly addictive and potentially deadly drugs.


But hey, don't take my word for it - just ask the millions of people worldwide who have found relief and improved quality of life through medical cannabis. Or consult the numerous medical organizations, like the American Nurses Association and the American Public Health Association, that have endorsed rescheduling or descheduling cannabis to facilitate research and patient access.


The notion that there is no evidence for cannabis' medical utility is not just factually incorrect - it's a slap in the face to the patients and healthcare professionals who have seen its benefits firsthand. It's an ideologically driven talking point that has no place in a serious discussion about science and public health.


So please, Kevin, spare us the Schedule I nonsense. It's a relic of the racist and politically motivated war on drugs, not a reflection of scientific reality. If you're going to engage in this debate, at least have the intellectual honesty to grapple with the evidence instead of regurgitating long-debunked prohibitionist myths.


"It is also more dangerous than people think. In fact, the drug has undergone a transformation in its addictive potential. Today’s marijuana is nothing like Woodstock-era weed."


Oh boy, here we go again with the "today's pot is not your grandpa's woodstock weed" scaremongering. Kevin, I hate to break it to you, but this tired talking point is the definition of reefer madness 2.0.


Yes, cannabis potency has increased over the years, thanks in large part to prohibition driving cultivation underground and incentivizing the production of more concentrated products. But the idea that higher THC content automatically equates to increased danger is overly simplistic and ignores the way cannabis is actually consumed in the real world.


The average THC content of popular strains in legal markets hovers around 14% - undoubtedly stronger than the schwag of yesteryear, but a far cry from the 90%+ concentrates that prohibitionists love to wave around to scare soccer moms. And let's be real, even the most potent bud isn't going to turn someone into a homicidal maniac. That's the kind of hysterical nonsense that even the most die-hard D.A.R.E. graduates have trouble believing these days.


What Sabet and his ilk fail to grasp is that cannabis consumers are not mindless slaves to ever-increasing THC levels. People titrate their dose and use a variety of consumption methods to achieve their desired effect, whether that's relief from pain and anxiety or a social buzz. Regular consumers also develop tolerance over time, meaning that what might be an uncomfortably intense experience for a newbie is just another Tuesday for a seasoned smoker.


Now, this is not to say that cannabis is harmless or that there aren't risks associated with excessive use, particularly for young people with developing brains. Some folks will undoubtedly develop problematic relationships with cannabis, just as they do with alcohol, gambling, and Fortnite.


But the solution to mitigating those risks is not prohibition and criminalization - we already know how well that works out. It's legalization, regulation, education, and harm reduction. By bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into a system of age restrictions, potency limits, and mandatory labeling, we can create guardrails to encourage responsible use while respecting the liberty and agency of adults to make their own choices.


And spare me the false equivalence between cannabis and alcohol, Kevin. If you're going to play the Schedule I card, let's at least be consistent. By any objective measure, alcohol is far more dangerous and addictive than cannabis - yet I don't see you crusading to bring back the 18th Amendment. It's almost as if your selective outrage and disdain for "psychoactive drugs" only applies to the ones you personally disapprove of. Funny how that works, isn't it?


But hey, I get it. Admitting that you've hitched your wagon to a losing battle must be a bitter pill to swallow. But the American people are waking up to the absurdity of cannabis prohibition, and no amount of reefer madness redux is going to put that genie back in the bottle. It's time to get with the times, Kevin. The future is green whether you like it or not.









kevin sabet on marijuana prohibition


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