Minutes ago, a majority of the Illinois State legislature voted to allow the commercialization of marijuana and expansion of the Big Tobacco-funded industry in their state. This unprecedented decision by a state legislature flew in the face of our unprecedented coalition, including the NAACP, State Sheriffs and other law enforcement associations, religious leaders, countless parents, those who have lost loved ones to marijuana, and so many others who called, wrote, and visited tens of thousands of times in the course of the last six months.
But we are far from giving up. We are currently exploring some exciting next steps, including legal options to address the litany of inconsistencies, problems, and outright flaws in Illinois’ legalization bill. (Oddly, the bill even contains text from a past bill on Pawnbrokers.) We are also helping towns and cities opt out and ban pot shops – something the majority of localities in virtually all “legal” states have done.
Across the country, we are ramping up our efforts and counting our wins. In New York, where the legalization bill is close to being dead, we have a new public media campaign and major rally planned next week. In New Jersey, the pot effort has been killed. In Connecticut, industry has already admitted defeat. And in New Hampshire, just yesterday, we celebrated another year of victory.
The tally for the marijuana industry in state legislatures is a grand total of one – this year every other state rejected this reckless policy and wisely put their citizens first.
We won’t stop fighting for public health, safety, and truth. I am struck by a question a former legislator from a “legal” state asked me recently: “Why is it that this industry deliberately develops candies in the shape of common children’s treats in every state where it is allowed?”
The answer to that question is why we will never, ever, stop fighting for you.
Dr. Kevin Sabet
President and Founder, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)
About SAM: Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states.
Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes, youth marijuana use, and costs that far outweigh pot revenues. These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana.