Project SAM (Smarter Approaches to Marijuana) likes to tout themselves has having some progressive ideas on marijuana legalization and criminalization. They say their goal is to “inform public policy with the science of today’s marijuana,” for example. But they’re really an anti-marijuana group trying a new approach to the same old Reefer Madness.
And now the Marijuana Policy Project is calling SAM out on it, with MPP Maine director David Boyer urging SAM to join forces with MPP to promote “an honest, evidence-based public dialogue about marijuana” in Maine, where recreational cannabis legalization efforts are starting to take shape.
Boyer says he got the idea after reading a Nov. 6 press release from Project SAM announcing what amounts to SAM’s opposition to any legalization efforts that may surface in Maine over the next year.
“Given the nature of the proposed public policy, we trust these discussions will entail an examination of the relative harms of marijuana compared to alcohol,” Boyer wrote in a press release last week. “In particular, we believe it is critical that they take into account the wealth of scientific evidence demonstrating marijuana is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society. If SAM intends to oppose proposals to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it like alcohol, we will expect you to explain why you believe adults should be allowed to use alcohol responsibly, but should not be allowed to engage in the responsible use of a substance that is less toxic, less addictive, and (unlike alcohol) does not contribute to violent behavior.”
SAM’s has said that they want to work towards ending the criminalization of people for minor marijuana offenses, but through court-forced treatment programs. Legalization is not an option for them, even though they talk like it is. The group “rejects dichotomies – such as ‘incarceration versus legalization’ — that offer only simplistic solutions to the highly complex problems stemming from marijuana use and the policies surrounding it,” according to their website.
Basically, more of the same and Boyer sees right through it.
“It appears your organization simply wishes to maintain the status quo of prohibition, in which marijuana remains entirely illegal and even responsible adult use warrants legal penalties. I look forward to hearing why you consider such a system to be a ‘third way’ and not just the ‘same way.'”