Not So “Smart Approaches to Marijuana”. They Say Shut it Down!
What CNBC Gets Wrong About Legal Pot
Smart Approaches to Marijuana posted a recent “guest commentary” on the CNBC website that gets everything wrong in its attack on the growing movement to legalize cannabis. It almost reads as a modern day “Reefer Madness.” Except it’s not that funny. Especially considering very real benefits, medical and economic, that legal marijuana brings to the legal cannabis states. The article is written by Kevin Sabat who is president of the organization “Smart Approaches to Marijuana”. That organization is NOT a scientific or research organization.
Smart Approaches to Marijuana: A Political Action Committee
Smart Approaches to Marijuana is a political action committee. Like most PACs, it name is very deceptive because the group does not advocate any sort of “approach” to marijuana. It is an anti-legalization group primarily funded by Juliet Schauer, herself an anti-marijuana activist.
Sabat’s group has already been fined for multiple violations of campaign finance law regarding California’s Proposition 64, a 2016 ballot measure that saw recreational marijuana legalized.
Deceptive Articles by Kevin Sabat, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana
Most of Mr. Sabat’s article is just as deceptive. Let’s start with the title of the article: “Legal weed isn’t living up to all of its promises. We need to shut it down” Really? So if legal marijuana doesn’t fulfill 100% of the promises made by a wide variety of people across all time and space, we “need to shut it down?”
Imagine if we held elected officials to that standard. Heck, what if we held most legal products manufactured in this country to that standard? The beer industry, for example, has been promising guys for decades that if they drink brew, they’ll be surrounded by Swedish bikini models. Should we shut down the breweries because beer isn’t living all to all its promises?
Sabat: Marijuana Shortcomings Warrant MJ Ban
And what are the promises for marijuana Sabat names? He names “curing cancer,” “curing the opioid crisis” and “solving climate change.” No, really, that’s what he names. He doesn’t mention curing glaucoma, helping chemo patients regain their appetites or the benefits of controlling epileptic seizures among so many already proven benefits.
The author focuses only on outlandish claims because Sabat began with a conclusion (marijuana is evil). He then wants to select only those factoids that support his point of view.
Here’s just one juicy passage:
Large businesses in Colorado now state that after legalization they have had to hire out-of-state residents in order to find employees that can pass a pre-employment drug screen, particularly for safety-sensitive jobs like bus drivers, train operators, and pilots.
Where is Sabat’s Evidence to Support Marijuana Ban?
Especially irrelevant, Sabat can cite only two businesses – local construction companies – that said they are hiring out of state workers. He makes the jump to include “bus drivers, train operators and pilots” without a shred of evidence that this happening. Further, those jobs are still being filled. So what exactly is the economic calamity that is happening in Colorado?
When it comes to the tax revenue pot is generating, Sabat engages in the same sort of reasoning he used to attack it because it didn’t cure cancer. His argument is that tax revenue from legal weed has not magically solved all of Colorado’s budget problems, therefore whatever actual tax revenue it is generating should just be ignored. It’s more of that all or nothing thinking.
In conclusion, it’s not surprising that a group with a deceptive name and hidden agenda would publish a smear piece like this. It is surprising that a mainstream business website like CNBC would let them.