Patrick Kennedy and David Frum and the anti-legalization crusade
SAM "Sane Approaches to Marijuana" is the organization.
Their name, however, is just the first lie in their crusade against reasonable approaches to marijuana. This organization follows the lead of former Bush Drug Czar minions who have gone on to lobby to make pharmaceutical marijuana legal while keeping inexpensive personal use/growth marijuana illegal. It's more than a little ironic that someone whose family made their fortune dealing in illegal alcohol during prohibition now seeks to make another, SAFER substance MORE DIFFICULT to acquire than alcohol. Or maybe it's not ironic, since the alcoholic beverage industry has poured money into anti-marijuana campaigns for years.
From the SAM website:
This statement is an almost VERBATIM regurgitation of the talking point from the Sativex lobbyist. Sativex, btw, is a product created by GW Pharmaceuticals and they have a vested interest in continuing the war on drugs against those who would grow their own cannabis for medical use because their product is NO DIFFERENT than marijuana grown in someone's backyard. But they have to pretend it is different in order to justify paying for their business investment in Sativex (GW Pharma is partnered with Bayer in the U.S.)
As Americans For Safe Access note - if Sativex works for any particular health issue - so does unregulated marijuana. Marijuana does not have to be smoked to obtain medical benefits, either, which is a talking point of SAM. Vaporizers remove most particulants and allow patients to titrate doses appropriate for their level of pain.
Here's how propaganda works, tho. Marijuana is NOTHING like an opiate medicine, in terms of the effects on the brain and body. Marijuana is safer than alcohol, in terms of recreational use of any substance. However, in order to maintain a FEAR in the minds of uninformed citizens, the lobbyists and now the political lobbyists on both the right and left seek to identify marijuana regulation with a substance that can kill, that can shut down the autonomic nervous system and that has levels that may cause an overdose.
Again, they should be talking about alcohol, if they were honest, because alcohol, not marijuana, has these properties, like opium. Marijuana, on the other hand, is better compared to a cup of coffee, in terms of its danger to society.
Marijuana, however, IS a SAFE SUBSTITUTE for opiates. People have used marijuana to reduce their reliance on addictive opiate drugs and, even, to help them overcome a substance abuse problem with alcohol by moving from far more dangerous drugs like Rush Limbaugh's favorite, or the Kennedy clan's money-maker, to an affordable and safe substitute which is much easier to decrease in use. Our own government places marijuana on the same level as coffee in terms of addictive properties. No one needs to go to rehab to stop using coffee (well, most of us, anyway.)
When I read up on the issue in the past, one stickler for legalizing Sativex as a medicine was the desire to limit patient access by only allowing the spray to work after x number of hours. Because marijuana has no known overdose, such efforts again demonstrate the useless hoops created by a willfully ignorant bureaucracy.
However, SAM wants to institute a court/clinic money-making scam for marijuana (that already exists in more draconian form) by FORCING people into mandatory health screenings and drug rehab programs for simple possession.
The need for this is not established. It's simply another way to punish people who chose marijuana rather than alcohol, for instance. If someone purchases a six pack of beer and drives home, gets pulled over and beer is found in the car - that person is not subject to medical intrusion into their lives by the govt. There is NO NEED for this intrusiveness with cannabis users, either.
If you want sane approaches to marijuana, you need to stop pretending it's more harmful than opiates (according to the CSA Drug Schedules) or this organization with its mandatory (and expensive) forced rehabilitation for a substance, again, that is on par with coffee in terms of its harm to society.
Here's a petition to let SAM know you do not want marijuana treated more harshly than alcohol.