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Why Kevin Sabet Is Wrong About Oregon Marijuana Legalization Efforts

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In some ways, I feel bad for Kevin Sabet. Kevin Sabet and his opinions are so unpopular these days, and it must be hard arguing on behalf of marijuana prohibition, which is a colossal waste of tax payer dollars, is a racist public policy, and is losing support daily. I’m sure Kevin Sabet doesn’t lose much sleep though, as he seems to like what he does, and probably sleeps in a bed that costs more than all of my possessions combined.

I had a brief discussion on Twitter with Mr. Sabet, which was initiated by his tweet that stated the following:

“I’m sorry that you are so flippant about creating another Tobacco industry. The people behind 91 in OR want to get rich. Period.”

To which I responded:

“False. I’m not rich, I just want to be able to legally consume a plant that is safer than alcohol in the privacy of my own home.”

Mr. Sabet then replied with:

“Privacy of your own home? Knock yourself out. Why not stop at decriminalzn then? Why do we need a new Industry pushing this?”

I provided the following response, which was the end of the conversation:

“Decrim carries a penalty, legalization does not. I’d prefer to keep my hard earned money considering I’m harming no one.”

Kevin Sabet didn’t respond after that, but many others did, providing their own rebuttals to Kevin Sabet’s reefer madness. 140 characters is not enough to adequately carry out a conversation sometimes, so as always, I invite Kevin Sabet to write a blog post that I will gladly post on my website for millions of people to read if he wants to, although I doubt he will take me up on that offer.

Mr. Sabet, the marijuana industry, even a ‘Big Marijuana’ industry is not going to be the same as the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, and has been doing so for decades. The tobacco industry profits off of the misery of it’s users. That is not the case with the marijuana industry. The medical marijuana industry has improved the lives of countless patients, and the recreational marijuana industry has killed no one, despite your attempts at trying to make it appear that alcohol and accidental deaths were caused by marijuana use. It was worth a shot for you to try, but anyone who looks at the facts of each case sees that you are clearly wrong.

The people behind Oregon Measure 91 are not trying to get rich. Every person that offered up their signature to the initiative is a backer. Anyone who has donated time and/or money is a backer. Anyone who plans on voting ‘yes’ on Election Day is a backer. Will some of them profit off of the passing of the initiative? Yes. But they will be a very, very small percentage of the backers of the initiative. Everyone else is backing the initiative because marijuana prohibition has failed, and they want to see much needed jobs come to Oregon, to see racially biased enforcement come to an end, and to see state resources going to fighting real crime, not towards enforcing a failed policy that causes way more harm than good.

Kevin Sabet pretends like he supports marijuana decriminalization, which he doesn’t. But lets suspend reality for a moment and pretend he does support decriminalization. Decriminalization does not help consumers, as they are still fined for possessing marijuana. I know first hand, as I had to pay a hefty fine for having marijuana in my pocket during a traffic stop once upon a time in my home state of Oregon. I almost lost my driving privelages as a result too, but fortunately the judge showed mercy on me and allowed me to keep my license.

Marijuana legalization is coming to Oregon, whether Kevin Sabet likes it or not. And it won’t be because ‘Big Marijuana’ wants to get rich off of Oregon citizens. It’s going to be because Oregon voters want a new, moral, logical approach to marijuana laws. If organizers behind New Approach Oregon only wanted to pass the initiative to get rich, than they wouldn’t have a home cultivation provision in the statute. They would have drafted an initiative that would have given a small group of people a monopoly on the industry. But that’s not the case.

Organizers, who are my personal friends, are motivated to end marijuana prohibition in Oregon because they (or their friends and/or family) have been victims of marijuana prohibition, and don’t want to see others have their lives ruined because of a plant that is safer than tobacco and alcohol. As one of the New Approach Oregon heads once told me, ‘The main reason I became a marijuana activist wasn’t because I wanted to get high, it was because I was tired of seeing my black friends get arrested for marijuana when my white friends where just getting warnings for the same thing. That’s f’d up.’ Future generations will look back on your work Mr. Sabet, and I don’t think the history books will be favorable to you. I strongly recommend that you move onto something else that doesn’t involve defending a failed, racist, harmful public policy.

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