by Max Brantley
Today, SAM [Smart Approaches to Marijuana] Action President Kevin Sabet made the following statement about medical marijuana legalization passing in Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana:UPDATE: Small problem for this group. Their idea was anticipated. From the amendment.
"Marijuana may contain medical value, but the whole plant is not medicine. We don't use mold for the benefits of penicillin nor do we smoke opium for the benefits of Morphine. These were ill-conceived initiatives meant to act as a first step to full-blown commercial marijuana legalization.
"We were proud to contribute to the Arkansas campaign which fell just short of winning last night, despite being greatly outspent by the pro-legalization lobby. This loss, along with results in Florida, North Dakota (where there was no organized opposition), and Montana (where there was no organized opposition) was disappointing, but not wholly unexpected.
"But this is the beginning of the conversation, not the end. Several localities in Florida have already banned retail sales. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is a former DEA Administrator and will, we think, take necessary steps to protect his state. And Montana has a long past with medical marijuana; they passed it 12 years ago but it was stymied by the people. We will be working with localities to ensure they know their rights and obligations to protect their citizens from pot shops, candies, and advertising."
A new, $1M+ initiative
Today alone, SAM raised $1M in pledges for a new Marijuana Accountability Project (MAP) that promises to keep state officials and the industry accountable—- by making sure data is collected, municipalities are empowered to ban stores in their neighborhoods, and the industry pays for their damage. SAM will also explore legal options against the industry and we will continue to engage in both states with stakeholders around this issue, as well as with the new US Congress and Presidential Administration.