Jan 112013
 January 11, 2013

drug warFormer ONDCP Advisor Kevin Sabet is at it again.

I’ve warned readers before about the “kinder gentler drug war” ideas that Sabet has been peddling.  Now with much fanfare and the bi-partisan additions of conservative David Frum and liberal Patrick Kennedy, Sabet has launched Project SAM, known as “Smart Approaches to Marijuana”.

This is Sabet’s latest attempt to paint criticism of War on Drugs, which is gaining traction with the voters, as a “false choice” between “lock ’em up” and “legalize it”.  It is his Goldilocks-and-the-Three-Bears triangulation of the War on Drugs as “too hard”, the legalization of marijuana as “too soft”, and the emphasis on treatment and prevention as “just right”.

It is, as Ethan Nadelmann of Drug Policy Alliance remarked, “a strategic retreat” in order to maintain the prohibition of marijuana.  The racial arrest disparities, the denial of medicine to the truly ill, and the devastating consequences of a marijuana possession arrest are battles that he cannot win any more, so he cedes that territory, calling for an end to “stop and frisk”, restoration of civil rights for those who served marijuana sentences, and emergency approval of non-smoked marijuana medicines for the truly ill.

But Sabet’s SAM never addresses the root cause that leads to all of the devastating consequences in the first place: the arrest of a marijuana smoker for possession or use.  Indeed, in SAM’s world, pot smokers would still be arrested, but the “kinder gentler drug war” would mandate rehab and supervised probation for those caught with weed.  If you should choose not to go to rehab or you fail a pee test, well, then, the force of law still exists to throw you in a cage.

In other words, you’re going to rehab whether you need it or not.  You may not have a problem with marijuana use, but SAM thinks you might someday, so you need to be forced into rehab before it gets that bad – or should we call it “prehab”?

Even more ignored is the process by which simple marijuana possession occurs, namely cultivation, harvest, distribution, and sale of marijuana, all of which would remain misdemeanors or felonies in SAM’s world, allowing violent cartels and criminals to continue to make a fortune and requiring continued expenditure and raids and potential law enforcement violence.

Indeed, there is a dichotomy at work in the War on Drugs, but it is not a false one.  The dichotomy is that either the force of the government should be used stop people from using marijuana, or it should not, absent no harm to others.  Increasingly, the American people believe the latter.

I will continue to follow the progress of SAM, or as I like to call it, “SAM I Am” (Stealth Approaches for Marijuana-Incarcerating Americans), through a Twitter feed called @SmartApproaches and soon on the websites SmartApproaches.com, SmartApproaches2MJ.com, and SmartApproaches2Marijuana.com.  For it seems that even after getting spoofed with VoteNoOnQuestion3.com, Sabet hasn’t learned to snap up spoof Twitter accounts and web domains prior to launch.

Kevin Sabet's SAM I am

I will not join you, SAM I Am. I do not need a rehab, SAM. I will not stop my smoking pot. So keep your pills, I like them not.

About Russ Belville

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.
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  • http://churchofsmoke.org/ Jose

    We the People petition Obama to replace liquor stores with marijuana dispensaries.


    Any liquor store that stops selling alcohol gets an automatic license to sell marijuana.

    • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

      They should sell both. I don’t believe in prohibition.

  • Tony_42

    Some relevant facts re:
    marijuana prohibition.

    – It is a human
    rights issue.

    – Serves as a control grid to project government power
    because of its wide spread use.

    – A monkey can interdict it.

    – If pot is smelled/suspected your rights are gone. You become
    a “target” for prison and forfeiture (theft of your property).

    – Deprives sick people of literally life saving medicine.

    – Protects “chosen” markets from competition
    (Pharma, tobacco, alcohol) while cashing in on prison industrial complex.

    – Provides banks with massive profits to the point where
    they are dependent on it for stability in many places.

    – Enables corruption through massive black market.

    – Creates massive criminal gang organizations who recruit

    – Provides children access to hard drugs through the black

    – Provides massive political capital to politicians who cash
    in on the fear of an older generation and the indoctrinated religious steeped
    in Reefer Madness hysteria and “puritanism”.

    – Marijuana prohibition has very little to do with public

    Marijuana Prohibition =Tyranny

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

    David Frum is no conservative. He is a “house conservative”.

    • Jetdoc

      ??? House Republican? Is that a RINO? (Republican In Name Only?)

      • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

        He is just slightly left of center. In a center right country. Fortunately the right is becoming more libertarian with time. Mr. Frum has no clue about libertarian.

  • Johnny oneye

    Well said! did anyone notice a lot of these prohibition supporters are ex-drug czars or former DEA heads? they are looking for jobs , money thrown in the toilet if you ask me.
    LEAP is a different story , and they speak from experience!
    Sabet spews nonsense , easily reputed! nothing new with that TOOL!
    “marijuana addiction” is an oxy-moron ,just like cannabis is a “dangerous narcotic”
    it does not hold water , just like Sabet!

  • ElDiablo

    you’re an asshole dude! you need to grow a few and get a life.

  • Issac Yesuf

    THC is stored for 30 days. Why? Piss tests costs privacy. Honest hardworking citizens are forced to pee to be free so they can work and drink and smoke responsibly. You can drink until you pass out or smoke 2 packs a day… in our free market system, but the DEA and the federal government’s marijuana laws prohibit the mere possession of a safer alternative. If THC was toxic it would be rejected immediately. Zero deaths are related to THC. What are you rehabbing from? The side affects are happy, hungry and sleepy! There shouldn’t even be an issue, but one is created by big government!