SAM – Smart Approaches to Marijuana
Photo: Ben Cort speaks at the SAM press briefing in Denver.
Staff and alumni from Jaywalker Lodge were in attendance at the initial press conference for SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) held at the Denver Press Club on Thursday, Jan. 10. The SAM project was initiated recently by US Congressman Patrick Kennedy and fellow supporters from the Colorado medical community. Rep. Kennedy spoke about his personal experience with addiction and recovery and followed with an explanation of why the passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado is a public health issue and needs a bipartisan approach.
Dr. Thurstone (University of Colorado Denver) followed with statistics that Colorado has seen since medical marijuana has been available to the public. His statistics reflected effects in adolescents. 1 in 6 of adolescents that use marijuana will develop a habit. 74% of adolescents that are smoking are self-reporting that they are obtaining medical marijuana from others. Traffic offences with marijuana have doubled since 2006. Colorado school expulsions are up 40 % as well most are drug related. Dr. Thurston also reports that 95% of the youth referrals they work with are for marijuana.
Kevin Sabet served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He now acts as a consultant on drug policy issues. Kevin shared insight on how tobacco companies are poised to cultivate, package, and market marijuana to the general public is a direct threat. Tobacco companies are notorious for marketing to both youth and disadvantaged communities. He compared the effects of how both alcohol and tobacco companies have taken advantage of these markets and that introducing marijuana into these communities presents a public health epidemic.