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October 24, 2013

"Hippies, step aside please. Marijuana's Marlboro Man is about to take the stage."

The title of this post comes from the final lines of this notable new commentary by Kevin Sabet of Project SAM at The Huffington Post headlined "Marijuana Opinion Polling: Be Cautious Amidst the Hype." Here are excerpts from the start and finish of the piece:

The special interest marijuana lobby -- who, like the tobacco industry, intend to make millions off of marijuana products by advertising and promoting their substance of choice -- can't stop talking about a recent Gallup poll finding that 58 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization.  Media outlets are already calling "game over" on the debate, expressing that, like gay marriage, marijuana is an issue whose time has come.

Not so fast.  Though marijuana lobbyists, like other special interest groups, are masters at manipulating and overplaying findings favorable to their crusade -- and ignoring findings that are unfavorable (like the link between marijuana and IQ loss or mental illness), the rest of us should see through the smoke and mirrors.  There are at least three major problems with using Gallup as a reliable marker for marijuana attitudes in the U.S....

Earlier this year, former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy and I founded Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), along with a slew of public health researchers and physicians -- from groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Addiction Medicine, and other prominent medical organizations -- to raise awareness about what the likely real result of legalization will be: this century's version of Big Tobacco.  That's because millionaire ex-Microsoft executives are already launching, in their words, the "Starbucks of Marijuana."  And multimillion-dollar private holding groups continue to raise money from investors eager to cash in on the "green rush."

People's image of marijuana legalization, however, is not consistent with this new corporate reality.  Folks are still stuck in the 1970s -- they think of peace loving, drum playing, harmless pot smokers who just want to light up without the hassle of the law.  And thanks to a marijuana industry casting doubt on any shred of scientific evidence (indeed mounds of it) that puts the drug in a bad light, confusion persists.

Hippies, step aside please.  Marijuana's Marlboro Man is about to take the stage.

Recent related post:

Cross-posted at Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform.

October 24, 2013 at 07:59 AM | Permalink

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Comments

// "And thanks to a marijuana industry casting doubt on any shred of scientific evidence (indeed mounds of it) that puts the drug in a bad light, confusion persists." //

Truer words have not been spoken.

Furthermore, the Marlboro Man may have died
an agonising deterioration due to lung cancer,
but psychoactive Marijuana Man faces hallucination, inebriation,
demented driving, memory impairment, & possible schizophrenia.

Posted by: Adamakis | Oct 24, 2013 9:24:41 AM

The difference I see regarding marijuana and tobacco is that from my understanding (having no first hand experience with either) growing enough marijuana to sustain even a small user circle's needs is quite easy, where the same is not at all true for tobacco or even alcohol.

That is to say, if/when legalization comes along there may not be nearly so much profit for Big Marijuana to extract simply because the convenience cutoff point may well occur at a much lower price.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Oct 24, 2013 11:41:27 AM

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