If you don't know about Project S.A.M., you probably should. Not because they are a worthwhile organization, because they are not. Not because they have strong leadership, because they don't. You need to know about Project S.A.M. because they are leading the charge against cannabis reform. But just because you need to know about the organization doesn't mean that you should be worried about them. Project S.A.M. relies on propaganda and cherry picked data to try to push their agenda. They are not very good at what they do, although there are some people out there that believe the half-truths and errors that Project S.A.M. spreads.
To see just how bad Project S.A.M. is at their job, consider one of their most recent press releases. The feds released statistics that showed marijuana consumption for teens in America. It's part of a national survey that is conducted every year by the feds. Below is Project S.A.M.'s press release about the data, via Marijuana Politics (emphasis added):
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services found that heavy marijuana use among monthly users - defined as 20 or more days of marijuana use per month - significantly increased among 12-to-17 year-olds in 2014 compared to 2013. Overall past month marijuana use among those 12 and older also jumped significantly.
"We should not be surprised that heavy marijuana use is on its way up," remarked SAM President Kevin Sabet. "The marijuana industry is telling kids --- indeed all Americans --- that their product is safe and healthy. Now more than ever, we need a major public awareness effort launched in this country to counter the misinformation of Big Marijuana."
The headline of the press release read 'HHS FINDS HEAVY MARIJUANA USE SOARING AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE.' If that were true, that would of course be great news for a group like Project S.A.M.. The problem is, the title is actually the opposite of what happened, and the true stats actually support legalization. Below is an explanation, also from Marijuana Politics:
That's right, among the minors aged 12-17, the "heavy marijuana use among monthly users - defined as 20 or more days of marijuana use per month" actually declined from 25.6 percent to 21.8 percent, a relative decrease of 4.8 percent. Even looking among the annual teen users, their use of pot 1/3rd of the days or more (100+ days a year), there were declines.
Then the release tries to pivot that scary "heavy youth use increase" lie into the more general stat that "Overall past month marijuana use among those 12 and older also jumped significantly." The problem there is that the increase from ages 12 and up is primarily due to the increase in adult marijuana use, according to the study's authors:
Marijuana use is especially growing among those aged 26 and older - from 5.6 percent in 2013 to 6.6 percent in 2014. The percentage of teens who were current marijuana users in 2014 (7.4 percent) was similar to recent years.
As always, great work by Russ Belville. He has always been a thorn in the side of Project S.A.M. and Kevin Sabet, and I'm sure he will continue to be because Russ is a freedom fighter. Shame on Project S.A.M. and Kevin Sabet for trying to use their spin doctor voodoo in an attempt to try to scare the American public. When will they just give up and move on to something else?