Sabet acknowledges that most marijuana users don't have serious drug problems. But very few, he says, are actually arrested. And if someone is caught with marijuana — probably in connection with another crime, like driving under the influence — there's a reasonable chance he's got a problem worthy of assessment and treatment.

Marijuana use, Sabet says, should be treated like a public health problem. And public health problems call for intelligent, early intervention. If you've got Stage 1 cancer, he says, you don't wait until you reach Stage 4 to act.

The danger, of course, is that SAM plays a significant role in blocking legalization, but is unable to do the far harder work of shifting the American justice system away from a punitive approach to marijuana and closer to a public-health approach — becoming complicit, in the end, in the war on drugs it criticizes.

SAM's leaders, though, say they are confident they can effectuate change. And in the meantime, they'll play a useful role in challenging liberal assumptions. "If I can get people to think twice about this," Kennedy told the Post, "that would be a win for me."

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: This Just In , Patrick Kennedy, Medical Marijuana, pot,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIBERAL WARRIOR  |  April 10, 2013
    When it comes to his signature issues — climate change, campaign finance reform, tax fairness — Whitehouse makes little secret of his approach: marshal the facts, hammer the Republicans, and embarrass them into action.
  •   AT BROWN, A WIN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVISTS  |  April 11, 2013
    A key Brown University oversight committee has voted to recommend the school divest from coal, delivering a significant victory to student climate change activists.
  •   HACKING POLITICS: A GUIDE  |  April 03, 2013
    Last year, the Internet briefly upended everything we know about American politics.
  •   BREAK ON THROUGH  |  March 28, 2013
    When I spoke with Treasurer Gina Raimondo this week, I opened with the obligatory question about whether she'll run for governor. "I'm seriously considering it," she said. "But I think as you know — we've talked about it before — I have little kids: a six-year-old, an eight-year-old. I'm a mother. It's a big deal."
  •   THE LIBERAL CASE FOR GUNS  |  March 27, 2013
    The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut spurred hope not just for sensible gun regulation, but for a more nuanced discussion of America's gun culture. Neither wish has been realized.

 See all articles by: DAVID SCHARFENBERG