There are some eating places providing specials on Tuesday to satiate “the munchies” — an apparent reference to the results of marijuana use and 4/20, the non-government endorsed “Cannabis Celebration Day.”
This comes as no shock to Kevin Sabet, former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy advisor and writer of “Smokescreen: What the Marijuana Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know.”
“It’s all part of the commercialization of marijuana — a way for people to cash in on this,” Sabet says.
In a 15-mimute telephone interview Monday afternoon from his New York City house, Sabet mentioned his e-book, set for launch — not coincidentally — on 4/20.
“My publisher said the book has to be released on a Tuesday and this year 4/20 fell on a Tuesday,” stated Sabet. “It was a sign I couldn’t pass up. I thought it was important to try and take back 4/20.”
The two-part, 255-page e-book contains chapters titled “Taking on Goliath,” “An Unexpected Ally,” “Facts Matter, Money Talks,” “What’s Been Unleashed,” “The Marijuana Underground,” and “The Whistleblowers.”
Sabet stated “Smokescreen” is “a very different book” than his earlier work, “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana.”
When Sabet completed serving within the Clinton White House — after working for George W. Bush and Barack Obama — “I left as fast as I could. I wanted to get out so many myths that I wanted to debunk,” he stated.
“Smokescreen” is the results of a number of years of analysis, with “people approaching me with incredible stories,” stated Sabet, 42, the president and CEO of SAM (Smart Approach to Marijuana).
The suicide of 29-year-old Kevin Bright of Benicia is documented in “Smokescreen.” His mother and father, Bart and Hazel Bright, consider heavy marijuana use led to their son’s dying.
If marijuana must be legalized, Sabet stated delaying the legalization age to 25 and even 30 “is certainly better than what we have now. We know the brain isn’t fully developed until 25 and some scientists say 30 is more accurate. The older age (for legalization) the better. It’s estimated that raising the alcohol age from 18 to 21 saves 50,000 lives a year. It doesn’t mean 18 year olds don’t get alcohol, but fewer do, I think.”
Sabet stated the legalization of marijuana with out FDA approval could also be a response to “previous overkill” of long-term incarceration for marijuana customers.
The resolution, nevertheless, “isn’t to go overboard,” Sabet stated. “Overcriminalization and over-normalization are both extremes.”
Sabet stated he hopes his e-book “cuts through some of the ‘noise’ about the issue we’re hearing. I hope it educates people and contributes to a dialogue where we can have discussions about pros and cons. Right now, marijuana companies are paying off politicians. This book serves to counteract some of that.”
Tuesday’s 4/20 vacation “is another way for corporations to cash in and ride the marijuana wave,” Sabet stated. “They use every opportunity they can. It’s not just a holiday for people to smoke a little bit of weed. It’s for corporations to advertise and make money. Ironically, I don’t think the counter-culture wanted to do that.”
Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol and Wall Street all profit from marijuana legalization, Sabet stated, lamenting modern marijuana’s THC efficiency “with all these cookies and candies and edibles, sodas, oils and ‘dabs.’ We don’t know what’s in it. A lot of Americans who favor legalization have no clue that what they’re in favor of is not their vision of what marijuana was 30 years ago.”
Sabet stated he’s been an anti-drug activist since he was in his mid-teens rising up in Orange County.
“I saw the effects of drugs on friends and a community that denied it had drug issues,” he stated.
Though Sabet stated he by no means tried marijuana, “you don’t have to rob a bank” to grasp that “I know I didn’t want to do it.”
Sabet hopes his campaign with others helps to change current legalization legal guidelines — principally limiting most efficiency — and stated it’s not with out precedent, citing Alaska, which decriminalized marijuana within the Nineteen Eighties and recriminalized it within the Nineties.
He was shocked dispensaries had been labeled as “essential” in the course of the pandemic.
“I think it’s incredible,” Sabet stated. “We can’t go to so many businesses but we think marijuana is essential? That speaks to what’s happening in America. Crazy.”
Sabet understands the uphill monetary battle he faces.
“You have to have a ton of money. The marijuana industry is so big. It will be difficult,” stated Sabet.
However, “unlike alcohol, marijuana is not used by a majority of the population,” stated Sabet. “That’s why Prohibition was repealed. Marijuana has always been the counter-culture drug.”
Sabet believes that “like we’re doing with tobacco, in 10 or 20 or 50 years, we’re going to look back on the wild promotion (of marijuana) and shake our heads and think, ‘How did they get away with it?’”
Until then, says Sabet, “marijuana gets a free pass.”