Former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy has kicked off a national campaign to help prevent the legalization of marijuana.
"I cannot be silent, and I don't imagine anyone else could be silent if they knew the facts as I know the facts," Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, told McClatchy Newspapers
"All I’m trying to do is get those facts to the broader public."
Kennedy's words come from experience. The 45-year-old ex-politician is a recovering drug addict who fell asleep behind the wheel of his car and crashed into Capitol Hill security barriers in 2006. In 2010, he announced he wouldn't run for re-election
after eight terms in office representing Rhode Island.
Kennedy now is chairman of Project SAM — Smart Approaches to Marijuana — a nonprofit group he founded in January to promote policies that decrease marijuana use.
"I did try and experiment with marijuana, but I quickly migrated to other drugs and alcohol,” Kennedy told McClatchy.
He added that while he once approved of the use of medical marijuana, "I now stand corrected by the science."
Kennedy said he is not surprised that Washington and Colorado have voted to legalize marijuana.
"There are votes and there are polls that reflect my early opinions and viewpoints, which were uneducated," Kennedy said.
"When you don't have the facts and when you don't have the public-policy experts, then what you have is a vacuum where anecdote and opinion become public policy and reality. And that’s dangerous."
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