by Barry Bluntman
I've recently been informed of a group called "Smart Colorado" which is dead set against recreational marijuana laws, and how it may adversely affect their business model. The interesting thing about some of the financial backers of this group calling themselves 'Smart Colorado,' is that they also happened to be the owners of a state sanctioned drug rehabilitation facility.
Meet Mel and Betty Sembler the primary advocates for smart Colorado, it was these two which enticed former Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck, in addition to a group of Republican lobbyists to try and choke out amendment 64, before this measure took root within the community and passed. Mel and Betty Sembler have a long and documented history as being controversial Republican operatives. While raising millions of dollars for Colorado Republicans and their "just say no" drugs policy, this husband-and-wife team, have at the same time, faced a wide raging scandal, regarding child abuse at the drug rehab centers that they both owned and operated.
Save Our Society from Drugs, a Florida-based nonprofit founded by Mel and Betty Sembler, has given Smart Colorado contributions totaling $151,497 through September, according to The Nation's review of state finance disclosures. That's 95 percent of the money raised by the group so far. [Source]
It isn't terribly difficult to understand the Semblers motivation, for the multi-decade-long war on drugs, that these two have individually waged against sane and sensible marijuana laws across the United States.
Before they lead their anti-marijuana crusade via the proxy battle of "save our society from drugs," and its black sheep cousin (also a nonprofit), the "drug-free American foundation," Betty and Mel were the guiding force behind STRAIGHT, Inc. which raked in piles of cash, from parents concerned about their teens marijuana use from the dark ages of the early 70s straight through to the early 90's.
The horror stories generated by these two right wing, moneygrubbing, plagues on American society are long and grotesque. In California, at a facility they ran in Yorba Linda, state investigators discovered that STRAIGHT, Inc. went out of their way to subject kids to intimidation, ridicule, humiliation, infliction of pain, in addition to a host of other unusual punishments.
Samantha Monroe, who was placed into a STRAIGHT Inc clinic in Tampa at age 13, says she was locked in a room, and forced to wear a clothes stained with urine, feces and menstrual blood---a punishment her counselors called "humble pants."
Richard Bradbury, a former STRAIGHT patient and counselor-turned-whistleblower, told the St. Petersburg Times that Monroe's experiences weren't unique. "It was pure child abuse," Bradbury told reporters. "Torture." [Source]
The Internet is a hard place to hide facts. As such it was easy find out that "the drug-free American foundation," happens to be a nonprofit organization which shares resources, and a massive office and staff with "the save our society" group which is currently backing the opposition to amendment 64 in Colorado. While at the same time having a contract with the federal government to attract and help small businesses implement, test and report drug use by employees within the workplace.
Just two years ago in 2010, American taxpayers handed over $250,000 to one of Betty in Mel's organizations to oversee a program which they claimed would guarantee a drug free workplace for the SBA. As a side project the Sembler's also get their kicks out of producing and distributing black-hearted anti-marijuana pamphlets, to further their ill-conceived revenue stream- on the backs of the victims in the "war on drugs."
This post originally appeared on Marijuana.com and was republished with special permission.