A coalition of groups that oppose legalizing marijuana has taken out a full-page ad in The New York Times on Saturday in response to the newspaper's editorial series arguing for the legalization
"The legalization of marijuana means ushering in an entirely new group of corporations whose primary source of revenue is a highly habit-forming product," the ad says.
"Sounds a lot like another industry we just put in its place. Many facts are being ignored by this and other news organizations. Go to GrasslsNotGreener.com
to see why so many major medical associations oppose marijuana legalization."
Groups behind the website include the American Society of Addiction Medicine, a group of more than 3,000 addiction doctors and professionals; the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, which includes judges, attorneys, and clinical specialists; National Families in Action, which works to get state laws passed that prohibit marketing of drugs to children; and the national organization Parents Opposed to Pot.
The ad shows a businessman with a "hippie" head, which the group says is a metaphor for the perception have about legalizing marijuana.
"We thought a paper like the Times – led by Andrew Rosenthal, the son of former Times executive editor, Pulitzer Prize winning Abe Rosenthal, a stalwart critic of legalization – would have done some more homework on the issue," the website posted Saturday
"If they had, they might have realized why almost every major national medical organization opposes marijuana legalization. But without considering the views of many of us, they decided to take such an extreme position as openly advocating for legalizing marijuana."
However, the Times is in "the trap of the false dichotomy in drug control" that says the only choices in drug policy are either legalization or jail.
"We realize that we don’t have to choose between two extremes," says the site. "We loathe both the rise of a for-profit prison industry and the rise of for-profit drug industry. We know that prevention, early intervention, treatment, education, and smart law enforcement can go a long way to increase public health and safety. And we know that we don't want another tobacco-like industry that will stop at nothing to profit from higher addiction rates."
The website is part of Project Sam
, (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) a nonprofit co-founded by former congressman and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Patrick Kennedy, along with former Obama administration drug policy adviser Kevin Sabet.
Project Sam is against legalization, but favors dropping mandatory minimum drug sentencing while expunging records for low-level marijuana users. It also fears that marijuana will become the nation's next "big tobacco."
"In the marijuana business, the values of the flower children have been quickly replaced by the values of Wall Street power brokers," Sabet said in a statement reported by The Washington Post
. “We’re on the brink of creating the next Big Tobacco. We feel like this is an important message most Americans have not considered."
But legalization is rapidly becoming accepted by many Americans, and legalization in Colorado is already being seen as "largely successful," compared to confusion at the federal level, says Brookings Institution fellow John Hudak in a new 20-plus page report
, based on interviews with local officials, regulators, and others in the state.
Marijuana went on sale in Washington, the only state besides Colorado to legalize the drug, just this month, and voters will decide on issue in the November election in Oregon and Alaska.
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