It wasn't that long ago that cannabis opponents seemed to be everywhere. I grew up in the 1980-s when 'Just Say No' and D.A.R.E. were mandatory programs at my school. Anyone contemplating legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana was seen as radical and fringe. Those days seem like a lifetime ago now as cannabis reform has gone mainstream and is supported by a majority of Americans.
It is still amazing to think that there were absolutely zero medical cannabis states in 1995 and now we have 23 states and counting. On top of that, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., may just join Colorado and Washington in ending thousands of harmful arrests and prosecutions for cannabis and replace prohibition with sensible rules and regulations. Oregonians, we can do our part by supporting Measure 91 and helping continue the momentum for sensible cannabis regulations that we are seeing all across the country.
Public support for cannabis reform is at an all time high. More and more people are going public with their support to end the failed war against cannabis. Per a recent article from the Washington Post:
"It's unbelievable what's happened," says Robert DuPont, a psychiatrist who was the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the 1970s. "You can't find anybody to speak on the other side. . . . The leaders in both parties have completely abandoned the issue."
"These guys are in a full-court press coming at you from every angle," says DuPont, 78, who runs the small, Rockville-based Institute for Behavior and Health. He sounds exasperated. "They have a bench 1,000 people deep. . . . We've got Kevin Sabet."
The people leading the opposition to cannabis reform these days usually come from three places. The first is law enforcement, which doesn't want to see their budgets dwindle from less asset forfeiture. They also don't want to lose the ability to claim they 'smell cannabis' and use that 'probable cause' to do just about whatever they want. I would include corrections in this category too, which of course wants to keep locking up cannabis offenders so they can keep getting grants and other funding.
The second group leading the opposition is from the drug rehab industry, which profits greatly from people who are forced to go to rehab for cannabis, even though they don't want rehab and don't need rehab. The third group is the pharmaceutical industry, which doesn't want to lose customers to medical cannabis. They would rather keep people addicted to harmful pills in order to boost profits.
If you were to take away these three groups, and the advocates they fund, there wouldn't be very many people left fighting against cannabis reform. While these three groups claim to be doing noble work, they are really just trying to protect their bottom lines, which is painfully obvious when you look at the money they will lose if/when cannabis becomes legal across the country. Public policy should be set up to help America, and not to help select industries and groups profit from ruining people's lives because of a harmless plant. I hope that Kevin Sabet will be the last of a long line of reefer madness propagandist leaders that have spread their message of injustice for so many decades.