USA: S.A.M News Round UP

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SAM Declares Victory in New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont

Lawmakers recently announced that marijuana legalization bills in New JerseyVermont, and New Hampshire are all effectively dead for the 2019 session. This litany of victories comes on the heels of a slew of other wins this year in states like Minnesota and New Mexico.
“Consecutive years of victories for public health and safety in these states is revealing that the movement for legalization is losing steam,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action) and a former senior drug policy advisor to President Obama. “This was a resounding, nationwide victory for the minority communities who are relentlessly targeted by Big Marijuana and its Big Tobacco funders, as well as families, schools, and those using roads or public transportation.”
Given the laundry list of state victories for pro-public health forces this year, it is clear that the American public are becoming much more skeptical about the results of marijuana legalization in the few ‘legal’ states.

SAM Releases Comprehensive Lessons Learned From Legalization Report

SAM released its third annual  Lessons Learned Report , a comprehensive study of the data outcomes in ‘legalized’ marijuana states. This study, validated by researchers from institutions such as Harvard and Johns Hopkins University and used as primary source material by international, federal, state, and local officials, as well as countless community organizations, finds that states that have legalized marijuana are witnessing rising use rates, thriving black markets, and harms among disadvantaged communities.
“As a handful of states are considering relaxing their marijuana laws, this  report will continue to serve as an eye-opener for lawmakers and slow the rush to legalize,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of SAM. “The commercialization of marijuana has been profitable for the industries such as Big Tobacco, yet tax revenues are falling short and serious, costly consequences abound. It is time to admit that marijuana legalization is a failed policy.”
SAM Affiliate Plasters Denver With Billboards to Educate Governor Polis on Failed Marijuana Policies

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy Sends Open Letter to Lawmakers Considering Marijuana Legalization

The Marijuana Accountability Coalition(MAC), a Colorado group dedicated to holding the state’s marijuana industry accountable, announced a new billboard campaign aimed at educating Coloradans and Governor Jared Polis on the failed policy of marijuana legalization in Colorado.
Governor Polis is currently considering signing bills into law allowing for the creation of pot bars and other dangerous giveaways to the marijuana industry. This campaign seeks to enumerate why continued expansion of the industry is dangerous to public health and safety.
“Marijuana has been legal in our state for five years now, and it has not helped our state,” said MAC spokesperson Luke Niforatos. “Our education system is still underfunded, marijuana-related traffic deaths and emergency room visits have skyrocketed, foreign cartels are turning our public lands into illegal farms, pot shops are taking over minority communities, and our state is now the poster child for drug use.
Former United States Congressman and co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), Patrick Kennedy, released an open letter that was sent to lawmakers in several states considering marijuana legalization that outlined why this policy presents a clear danger to public health and safety.
“The commercialization of marijuana is a policy that results in devastating consequences for families, public health, and public safety,” said Mr. Kennedy. “If lawmakers can see beyond the fabric of lies being woven by the marijuana industry’s well-heeled lobbyists, they will see marijuana legalization efforts for what they are: addiction-for-profit companies looking for the next big payday.
Specifically, the letters are being sent to lawmakers in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Illinois, and New York.

Newsweek Oped: Big Marijuana Copies Big Tobacco’s Playbook. Let’s Not Make the Same Mistake Again

In an opinion piece published in Newsweek, SAM founder Dr. Kevin Sabet argues that marijuana legalization is being supported by the titans of addiction: Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol, and Big Pharma, and is an affront to real social justice efforts.
“Big Marijuana isn’t just  like Big Tobacco – there are now actual major tobacco conglomerates involved in cashing in on pot. Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes,  recently invested billions of dollars into a Canadian marijuana grower and has purchased a large stake in Juul (which itself is an offshoot of a marijuana vaping company at the root of today’s youth vaping epidemic). And you just can’t make this up: the former head of Purdue Pharma, who oversaw the deceptive marketing of OxyContin,  became the head of a Canadian marijuana company.”

Groundbreaking New UK Study Confirms Link Between Daily, High Potency Marijuana Use and Psychosis

A new study  found that the rise in marijuana use in Colorado since the state legalized the drug has led to increased emergency room visits. The study found that 9,973 marijuana-related emergency room visits occurred from 2012-2016, more than triple the number that occurred prior to legalization. Additionally, the study found that 10.7% of visits at UCHealth were due to the ingestion of high potency marijuana edibles.
“Evidence continues to build the case that marijuana legalization results in harmful impacts on public health and safety,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet. “Marijuana is no longer the weed of Woodstock. The industry is churning out new, highly potent candies, gummies, sodas, and ice creams as well as concentrates and vape pens that contain up to 99% THC. These kid-friendly products are regularly getting into the hands of children, whose developing brains are incredibly susceptible to permanent damage from this highly potent pot.”
A landmark study published in the prestigious

First Release of Data from Canadian Legalization Shows Significant Increase in Youth and Overall Use

A new  Canadian federal study found a 27% increase in marijuana use among people aged 15 to 24 over the last year. Additionally, approximately 646,000 Canadians have reported trying marijuana for the first time in the last three months, an amount almost double the 327,000 that admitted to trying the drug for the same time period last year.
“Last year, Canada flouted international treaties and allowed a predatory, addiction-for-profit industry to entrench itself nationwide – and now we are beginning to see the results,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet. “It is stunning what has happened in such a short period of time: A doubling of first-time use of today’s highly potent and addictive marijuana and a rise in use among young people. This is incredibly concerning for the implications it has on mental health.”

SAM Recognizes Champions of Public Health With Achievement Awards

New Study Highlights Massive Increase in Workplace Marijuana Positivity Rates in “Legal” States

At a recent a policy summit in Atlanta, Smart Approaches to Marijuana awarded several achievement awards to influential and prominent influencers on drug policy.
In recognition of his lifetime of dedication to public health, SAM President Dr. Kevin Sabet presented former United States Ambassador Melvyn Levitsky with the 2019 Smart Approaches to Marijuana Lifetime Achievement Award.
Additionally, SAM was proud to award the Patrick J Kennedy Advocate of the Year Award to two state lawmakers, Representative Marty Moylan and Representative Kim Moser, who have been influential in defending public health and safety in their state.
An  analysis of 10 million drug samples by Quest Diagnostics found that states that have “legalized” the use of marijuana have seen massive increases in workforce positivity since legalization. Oregon has seen a 63% increase, Nevada has seen a 55% increase, and Colorado has seen a 47% increase. All states that have implemented legal sales far outstrip the national average of 2.3%.
“While rates of drug positivity have mostly fallen over the last few decades, marijuana use has risen as legalization efforts have perpetuated the idea that pot use is safe, and state sanctioned,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet. “These numbers are even more disturbing when one takes into consideration the fact that many employers are beginning to forego drug testing of their employees as drug use becomes more widespread.”

Illinois Legislature Puts Wall Street and Big Marijuana Ahead of Public Health, Safety, and Minority Communities

After a year of debate and against the warnings of a vast, diverse coalition of parents, educators, doctors and medical associations, the NAACP, substance abuse professionals, and law enforcement groups, the Illinois General Assembly voted to legalize the commercial sale of marijuana in a narrow vote.
“This outcome is disappointing, as it is a win for wealthy marijuana investors and a loss for Illinois citizens and communities,” said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “But we’re not done fighting. We will take this effort to local communities who do not want pot shops in their neighborhoods, and we will explore legal and other avenues to mitigate the harm.”

Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana: New Book Co-Edited by Dr. Kevin Sabet Available Now

Hot off the presses of Oxford University, Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana
is now available for purchase. 
This new book, co-edited by Drs. Kevin A. Sabet and Ken C. Winters, comprises chapters by other experts hailing from a wide range of fields including psychology, epidemiology, medicine, and criminal justice. It is a balanced, data-driven volume highlighting new theory and clinical evidence pertaining to marijuana.
The volume features a comprehensive review of research into marijuana’s impact on public health, including how it affects cognitive and neurological functioning, its medical effects, suggested treatment approaches for marijuana use disorders, marijuana smoking and lung function, and marijuana-impaired driving.
Supplies are limited, so place your order today!


Big Marijuana is borrowing the playbook of Big Tobacco in search of the same deep profits at the expense of addicted users. It is time to combat their game with the facts! To help you do so, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) has partnered with Communities for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth (CADY) to offer a comprehensive media campaign prevention toolkit.


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