A 'Third Way' for Pot-Law Reform?

Marijuana Policy Project says 'No' to Kennedy proposal

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy wants you to say 'No' to legal pot
Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy wants you to say 'No' to legal pot

A majority of voters in Washington and Colorado have decided that the legalization, regulation, and taxation of pot for recreational use is a better alternative to pot prohibition, but a new group, led by former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, argues that neither the drug war, nor legalization, are healthy answers to the nation's drug issues.

Kennedy – who has admitted in the past to abusing cocaine, prescription drugs, and alcohol – has launched the bipartisan Smart Approaches to Marijuana as a "third way" of addressing marijuana use, an approach that "neither legalizes, nor demonizes, marijuana," according to the group's webiste. That third way, according to SAM, is to approach pot policy from a "health-first" perspective that is "based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety."

Despite that assurance, SAM so far has done little to suggest its advocacy is centered in solid science: a quote from Kennedy on the website links pot use to mental illness, while other sections of the site argue that pot leads to lower IQs, that research shows that pot is highly addictive, and that "people arrested for marijuana possession" rarely wind up behind bars.

Indeed, one SAM proposal, that pot users be cited, but not jailed, and instead required to submit to mandatory health screenings and to a "marijuana-education program" – and then to rehab, should the pot-educator feel that's necessary – prompted a swift and stern response from drug-law reformers. "The proposal is on par with forcing every alcohol user into treatment at their own cost, or at a cost to the state," Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project said in a press statement released last week, in advance of Kennedy's SAM project launch in Denver.

Tvert argues that Kennedy's proposal for the re-education of pot users is the "definition of hypocrisy," coming from a man whose family made a fortune selling booze, which pot-law reformers argue is a far more destructive drug than is pot for recreational use. "If this group truly cares about public health, it should be providing the public with facts regarding the relative harms of marijuana and discouraging the use of the more harmful product," Tvert argues.

As such, MPP has launched an online petition, calling on Kennedy to step back and get real: "Please drop out of Smart Approaches to Marijuana or explain why you are working to keep a less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal," reads the petition.

You can find the petition, and sign it, here.

READ MORE
More Marijuana
Fill a Bowl for Stickland
Fill a Bowl for Stickland
State rep's stoner past comes out in primary

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 30, 2015

High Profits: Cannabis as Pot of Gold
On the Eve of 4/20
High Profits, by Austin’s Bat Bridge Entertainment, debuts

Marjorie Baumgarten, April 19, 2015

More Reefer Madness
4:20 on 5/3: Rally for Pot-Law Reform
4:20 on 5/3: Rally for Pot-Law Reform
Million Marijuana March this Saturday in Austin

Jordan Smith, May 1, 2014

Justice Says Legalize It
Justice Says Legalize It
Retired Supreme Court judge weighs in on pot prohibition

Jordan Smith, April 25, 2014

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
Musical chairs at Downtown HQ

May 9, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Marijuana Policy Project, MPP, marijuana, Reefer Madness, drug war, marijuana legalization, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, SAM

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)