“Reefer Sanity” is a new book by Kevin Sabet, PhD., former senior advisor for the White House drug czar and self-proclaimed marijuana expert. He’s become the go-to guy for anti-marijuana arguers, a source of flawed arguments in support of prohibition. Sabet has expanded his arguments into his latest book, where he offers mediocre support for the continued War on Marijuana. Sabet isn’t a “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” type.
On the contrary, he approaches marijuana as a public health issue. His ideal world is seemingly one where marijuana remains illegal but those caught with it are sent to treatment rather than jail. Along these lines, he doesn’t believe marijuana has useful medical applications and certainly believes marijuana is addictive. Those are just two of the arguments he lays out in “Reefer Sanity.”
Here are the rest of Sabet’s so-called “Seven Great Myths About Marijuana,” of which he dedicates a chapter each in his new book. Each myth is followed by my own commentary.
- Myth 1: Marijuana is harmless and nonaddictive – According to Sabet, marijuana is both harmful and addictive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are countless studies showcasing marijuana’s beneficial attributes in preventing and reversing numerous ailments such as seizures, depression, pain, nausea, and even (especially) cancer. As for addiction, anything from watching TV to shopping can be addictive. But there is little chance for any marijuana user to become dependent on the drug.
- Myth 2: Smoked or eaten marijuana is medicine – Despite volumes of research to the contrary, Sabet doesn’t believe marijuana to have healing effects when consumed. But as research suggests, this simply isn’t true. One woman even replaced 40 medications with raw cannabis juice.
- Myth 3: Countless people are behind bars simply for smoking marijuana – Marijuana legalization advocates realize no casual pot smokers are serving hard-time for their habit. But, arrests and prosecutions for marijuana possession do take a considerable toll on the criminal justice system, not to mention the defendants who are “cuffed and stuffed” for a little weed.
- Myth 4: The legality of alcohol and tobacco strengthen the case for legal marijuana – If these two substances, which together kill countless of Americans each year, are legal and regulated by the government, why can’t consenting adults have the ability to choose marijuana (which, incidentally, hasn’t been faulted for any deaths, ever)?
- Myth 5: Legal marijuana will solve the government’s budgetary problems – Again, Sabet is making assumptions about the intelligence of legalization-supporters, most of whom realize marijuana will not “solve” the government’s financial problems, though it could provide a booming and profitable industry.
- Myth 6: Portugal and Holland provide successful models of legalization – Despite Sabet’s arguments that Dutch teen marijuana use is increasing, rates are well within European norms. He also “fails to note the consistent finding from social scientists that the link between drug policies and drug use rates is quite weak,” according to Phillip Smith.
- Myth 7: Prevention, intervention and treatment are doomed to fail—so why try? – See Myth 1. You can be addicted to any behavior. But by all measures, junk food is far more addictive than marijuana.
Despite these arguments being mediocre at best, you can bet they will get considerable attention from those who oppose marijuana legalization. If you hope to help the movement to make this healing herb available to all people, knowing how to counter their lame arguments could help tilt the scale in our favor.