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Anti-Marijuana Groups Start Pouring Millions Into Stopping Legalization in 2016

In an attempt to sabotage several well-funded campaigns aimed at ending marijuana prohibition across the nation, later this year, a gang of drug warriors headed up by former Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy, has emerged with a war chest of more than $2 million that will be used to try to con the average citizen into voting against legalization ballot measures, including one in California, when they show up at the polls this November.

Although there has been very little noise throughout the first part of 2016 about opposing forces pouring mega-dollars into campaigns aimed at stopping marijuana legalization, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), which was founded by Kennedy; prohibition advocate Kevin Sabet; and David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic, is planning to spend millions on fighting initiatives to legalize the leaf in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada.

SAM claims its mission to stop these marijuana proposals from becoming law is really about fighting against “Big Marijuana,” a system “which has consistently placed corporate profits and addiction ahead of public health,” according to its website. The group is concerned that, in legalizing marijuana, the nation is headed toward the creation of another tobacco industry, one that allows a few to get wealthy off the erosion of the American population.

“It is putting our children at risk and has exposed children from communities of color to more racial discrimination than before,” Kennedy, a nephew of former President John F Kennedy, told the LA Times.

But while SAM’s modest piggy bank is an admirable attempt at stopping the inevitable progress of cannabis reform in the United States, it is hardly impressive enough to strike fear into those standing on the front lines of the movement. That’s because even if the group plans to sink all of its money into combative measures to foul up California’s “Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA),” an initiative that they, like the pro-pot groups, believe is important in the grand scheme of nationwide reform, it is still not enough dough to tackle the almost $7 million that has been raised, so far, by those who support the concept of bringing legal weed into the California mainstream.

Yet, SAM says it only intends to spend “a large share of the funding” in the Golden State – spreading the rest across four other areas.

California’s AUMA, also known as Proposition 64, which is supported by billionaire entrepreneur Sean Parker and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, would legalize a recreational cannabis industry in a manner that is similar to what is going on in Colorado and Washington. The initiative has drawn a significant amount of opposition, however — even from those who support legalization — because it comes policies that would restrict home cultivation while allowing people to still be arrested for certain marijuana-related offenses.

In a newly released ballot argument, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein suggests that legal weed in California would lead to more stoned driving accidents and an insurgence of retail pot stores going up near schools.

“Proposition 64 is an all-out assault on underprivileged neighborhoods already reeling from alcohol and drug addiction problems,” reads the opposition argument, which is signed by Feinstein and Doug Villars, president of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen.

But supporters argue that California’s liberal medical marijuana law is already allowing weed to be sold “nearly everywhere,” without the protections that the AUMA aims to provide.

As for SAM’s anti-legalization campaign, no one is sure where the $2 million came from. The organization did say that the contribution did not come from law enforcement or casino mogul Sheldon Anderson, who is infamous for pouring millions of dollars into preventing legalization.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    JC Ballenger

    August 3, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Ironic that this would be headed by someone who’s family made their fortune bootlegging during prohibition.

    • Avatar

      James Bodie

      August 3, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      The bootlegging story is probably an urban legend. See the Wikipedia article on Joseph Kennedy.

      • Avatar

        Chris Ballenger

        August 3, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        Wiki is attempting to change history, and it seems people sleep enough to allow it.

        • Avatar

          James Bodie

          August 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm

          Did you bother to read the article? People have attempted to substantiate the story and haven’t been able to. What evidence do you have that it is true? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/04/26/the-kennedy-bootlegging-myth.html But, as you say, if it is true, there is an irony there. Thanks for pointing out an item of history that I didn’t know.

          • Avatar

            lovingc

            August 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm

            I read it. I found it to be unconvincing.

      • Avatar

        lovingc

        August 4, 2016 at 12:51 pm

        Just because one researcher found no evidence doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. The stories persist decades after his death. If there is none that just means he had good operational security. Like any successful drug dealer.

  2. Avatar

    SamB

    August 3, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Such BS! Like they give a crap about public health and the children… Not that pot endangers either at all and is least harmful if all substances known to man. Meanwhile they want cigarettes and alcohol markets thriving and we know those are both so healthy for us all. I cant wait til its absolute blasphemy to spout weed farsities like this. When common knowledge thc increases brain cell production and function plus fights cancer thru ur endocanabanoid sys. Duh

  3. Avatar

    Nominalis

    August 4, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Not everyone can afford to spend millions to discriminate against people they hate. Most of us just have to walk away and ignore our political enemies. Hopefully we can get over ourselves, grow up, get lives and move on. Not Kennedy and Sabet though with their multi-million dollar attack on people who like a certain plants leaves. How petty, acting like spoiled brats who didn’t get a cookie on demand.

  4. Avatar

    lovingc

    August 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    2 million is millions? It is a mere pittance compared to the warchest the pro’s have.
    I have always known there is nothing smart about SAM,But this is ridiculous. I think they are about ready to give it up.

  5. Avatar

    HeinekenPete

    August 4, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    …if Smart Approaches to Marijuana is truely worried about legalization leading to “Big Marijuana” and allowing “a few to get wealthy at the erosion of the American population”, then they should work towards legalization policies that favor smaller “Mom & Pop” and “Boutique” types that will keeps the businessess, monies, and profits from this new Gold Rush local. Think pragmaticly. Think outside the box. Not everything has to be “Walmart” to be sucessful.

  6. Avatar

    Randal

    August 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Opinion: Have pharmaceutical companies and or prison industrial complex contributed money to fight against the legalization of cannabis? How much money have politicians against legalization of cannabis taken in the form of campaign contributions? Should we call political campaign contributions from corporations and big business “Bribery Money”?

  7. Avatar

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  9. Avatar

    lovingc

    August 7, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Two mil. is not even enough to get started.

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