By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in News
Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 11:20 am
|Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy has established a group to lobby against legalized marijuana|
Group calls on Patrick Kennedy - whose family made a fortune selling alcohol - to explain why he wants to keep an objectively less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal
The nation's largest marijuana policy organization, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), slammed former Congressman Patrick Kennedy's plan to force marijuana consumers into treatment and marijuana "education" classes, which his new organization, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), is scheduled to unveil in Denver on Wednesday.
Kennedy's group, Project SAM -- for Smart Approaches to Marijuana -- will lobby for increased treatment for marijuana and drug abuse, he said, reports The Associated Press.
"The proposal is on par with forcing every alcohol user into treatment at their own cost or at a cost to the state," said MPP communications director Mason Tvert. "In fact, it would be less logical because the science is clear that marijuana is far less toxic, less addictive, and less likely to be associated with acts of violence."
"While I am compassionate to Kennedy and others in recovery who have had serious problems with drugs, I believe it is a mistake for him to support our failed and disastrous marijuana prohibition," agreed Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) in a Huffington Post op-ed piece on Tuesday. "Patrick Kennedy and the people who know about addiction should be working to end the war on drugs, not defending it."
|Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project: "Former Congressman Kennedy's proposal is the definition of hypocrisy"|
MPP is calling on Kennedy, whose family made a fortune selling alcohol, to explain why he wants to keep an objectively less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal. Specifically, MPP is asking Kennedy to address the question on SAM's website and provide facts regarding the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol.
MPP also launched an online petition Tuesday morning asking Kennedy to provide an explanation or resign as chairman of SAM, which received more than 1,500 signatures within the first hour of being posted.
"Former Congressman Kennedy's proposal is the definition of hypocrisy," Tvert said. "He is living in part off of the fortune his family made by selling alcohol while leading a campaign that makes it seem like marijuana - an objectively less harmful product - is the greatest threat to public health."
"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 continued. "Why on earth would they want keep a less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal?
"Former Congressman Kennedy and his organization should answer this question before calling on our government to start forcing people into treatment programs and throwing them into marijuana 'education' camps," Tvert said.
For more information on the Marijuana Policy Project, visit www.mpp.org.