SAM Action Commits More Than $2 Million to Fight Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiatives Nationwide

Historic fundraising effort to counter non-medical marijuana initiatives comes on the heels of proposed measures that would legalize pot advertising and candies.  [Alexandria, VA] – SAM Action, the non-profit 501(c)(4) affiliate of SAM, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, co-founded by a former Obama Administration drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet, announced today a fundraising milestone of more than $2 million dedicated to defeating ballot measures that would legalize marijuana advertising, pot candies, and legitimize massive marijuana special interest groups across the country.

“The ballot initiatives in California, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine usher in massive commercialization of kid-friendly marijuana products,” said Sabet. “They go way beyond just legalization for adults’ personal use. These proposed initiatives do things like legalize marijuana advertising on television and industrial production and marketing of pot candies like gummy bears and lollipops. It’s a money grab by a massive new addictive industry – and particularly ironic given how we are in the process of tightening tobacco laws.”

For example, the initiatives include provisions that would:

* allow pot smoking ads on prime-time television (CA)

* pack the state marijuana advisory bodies with industry representatives (AZ, CA, MA)

* weaken impaired driving laws (AZ, CA)

* give special treatment to existing marijuana business over ordinary citizens (AZ, CA, NV, MA, ME)

* allow kid-friendly edibles to be advertised and sold (AZ, CA, NV, MA, ME)

* provide no criminal penalties for pot shops that sell to minors (ME),

“For those of us who care about public health and civil rights, marijuana legalization can sound like a good idea at first,” said Patrick J. Kennedy, SAM’s Honorary Advisor. “But marijuana legalization has turned out to be a false promise on both fronts. It is putting our children at-risk, and has exposed children from communities of color to more racial discrimination than before. ”

“The marijuana industry wants to turn back the clock to the 1970s and put smoking commercials back on TV after a 40-year ban,” noted Jeffrey Zinsmeister, SAM Action’s Executive Vice President. “And in one state, unlike cigarettes, they’ll also be able to advertise pot candies and brownies on prime-time shows with millions of children and teenage viewers. These are regressive initiatives in the most literal sense of the word.”

The multimillion dollar commitment represents the single largest fundraising amount ever dedicated to fighting the legalization of non-medical marijuana via ballot initiative. The money was given by private citizens concerned about addiction for profit. None of this money was donated by corporations, corporate interest groups, or people acting on their behalf.

“Private citizens heard that these initiatives were written so broadly, and they acted,” said Sabet. “This is about stopping the next Big Tobacco.”

Source:  1st August 2016

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