Marijuana Advocates, Your Enemy Has a Name: SAM

Smart Approaches to Marijuana advocates a "third way'' that for legal cannabis is no way to exist.

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Marijuana Advocates, Your Enemy Has a Name: SAM
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For those in the legalized marijuana business who fear a federal government crackdown on the issue, a guide to the approach of one strategy has arrived.

The Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) released a report this month that highlights the group’s issues with how states are – or, in their view, are not – complying with legal requirements around the distribution of legal marijuana.

It also compares the marijuana industry to “Big Tobacco.”

The SAM report further alleges the marijuana industry “should form the focus of federal law enforcement, not individual users.” It calls for an information campaign “which alerts Americans” to the harms of marijuana.

The report mirrors many of the recent comments from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has hit upon some of the same points from the report about states handling of marijuana regulation.

Related: 3 Must-Dos to Prepare for When Cannabis Is Federally Legal 

About SAM

SAM is essentially an anti-legalized marijuana lobby group, based in Washington D.C. The group’s mission is to take a “health-first” approach to marijuana policy. Rather than legalized marijuana or rampant incarceration for its use, the group asks for a “commonsense, third-way approach” to marijuana.

According the SAM site, that means a society “where commercialization and normalization of marijuana are no more.” It goes on to state it wants policies that “decrease marijuana use and its consequences.”

The group reports it has doctors, lawyers, policymakers and mental health professionals among its ranks.

The Report’s Findings

The SAM report goes after states for not properly regulating the marijuana industry.

The SAM report focuses primarily on whether states have worked within the framework set down by the Cole Memo. The memo, written by the Justice Department under President Barack Obama, essentially promises that the federal government will allow states to put legalized marijuana sales into place as long as they adhere to certain guidelines.

Related: Doctors and Patients In Florida Are Embracing Medical Marijuana

These guidelines include not allowing sales to minors, preventing legalized marijuana from funding drug cartels, preventing marijuana from legal states to move into adjacent states where it is not legal, preventing violence around legal marijuana operations and preventing marijuana use or production on federal lands.

The report claims states have missed the mark on these issues and touched on a number of issues. They include:

  • Teens are using marijuana more in Colorado than the time before it was legalized
  • Marijuana-related offenses in schools have increased
  • In June 2017, a massive illegal marijuana trafficking scheme was taken down in Colorado, with an operation that stretched into Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma
  • The fact Nebraska and Oklahoma have both sued Colorado over marijuana crossing the borders into their states, where cannabis is not legal

The states involved dispute much of this information as outdated. Whether this strategy works remains to be seen, but the battle between states and the federal government – and some lobby groups - continues. The SAM report offers insight into how the anti-marijuana legalization effort might form its argument.

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