Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

Patrick Kennedy's Anti-Pot Group Pushes "Mandatory Marijuana-Education Program" for Recreational Users


Project SAM, the anti-marijuana legalization group started by former Obama administration advisor Kevin Sabet and chaired by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), has unveiled its website and policy goals.

Topping the list is the recommendation "[t]hat possession or use of a small amount of marijuana be a civil offense subject to a mandatory health screening and marijuana-education program. Referrals to treatment and/or social-support services should be made if needed. The individual could even be monitored for 6-12 months in a probation program designed to prevent further drug use." 

Kennedy announced his involvement with Project SAM, which stands for "smart approaches to marijuana," earlier this month. Sabet is on the organization's board, and president of the group's umbrella organization, the drug policy consulting firm Policy Solutions Lab. Newsweek/Daily Beast columnist David Frum is also on Project SAM's board.

While the group's existence has been public for less than a week, the Marijuana Policy Project has already called for Kennedy to resign. 

"Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy is the chairman of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a new national organization that wants to force marijuana consumers into treatment and subject them to mandatory health screenings and 'marijuana education' camps," reads a petition from the Marijuana Policy Project

You can read rest of Project SAM's policy positions after the jump. 

In addition to the mandatory education and monitoring for users, Project SAM advises:

  • That there is an end to the practice of "stop-and-frisk."
  • That no marijuana use in any form is permitted in public view.
  • That smoke-free laws apply to marijuana and tobacco.
  • That there is expungement of any personal record regarding possession of small amounts of marijuana.

For growers and sellers, Project SAM advises: 

  • That they remain misdemeanors or felonies based on amounts possessed.
  • An end to mandatory minimum sentences so judges can exercise discretion under the law.
  • Assessment and mandatory treatment in prison for those who are addicted. Appropriate aftercare should be provided by service providers licensed by the state upon release.
  • Restoration of all civil rights once sentences have been served.
  • Services for re-entry into the community through Justice Reinvestment or similar programs, such as the Drug Market Initiative(DMI).

For drivers, Project SAM wants to see: 

  • Driving with any amount of marijuana in one's system be at least a misdemeanor. Repeat offenses need harsher punishments.
  • Driving under the influence of any amount of marijuana result in a mandatory health assessment, marijuana-education program and referral to treatment or social services.
  • If/when a marijuana impairment level is established, driving with impairment or higher levels of marijuana in one's system be at least a misdemeanor. Repeat offenses need harsher punishments.

You can read more at the group's website,

NEXT: Reason TV: The Problem with Hurricane Sandy Aid

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Fuck off, slaver

    1. Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields,
      Sold in a market down in new orleans.
      Scarred old slaver know he’s doin alright.
      Hear him whip the women just around midnight.

      1. That song was recorded in Sheffield, Alabama, which is the town I was born in.

        That song is play incessantly on the local classic rock station, almost every Sunday morning.


          The recording studio is also featured on the album cover of one of Cher’s early solo albums.


            Here is a vid of the Stones’ recording “Wild Horses” at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. It’s crazy because so much rock and roll history was recorded in what amounts to a small shed on the side of barely used small highway in the middle of a podunk Alabama town.


        2. Still one of my favorite Stones tunes.

          1. It sounds like the Stones’ take on what the Velvet Underground had already been doing, namely songs about heroin and darker subject matter opposed to the free love ethic of the 1960s.

    2. Pretty much the only response needed.

  2. An iron hand in a velvet glove.

    1. Do you suppose SAM will advocate ‘treatment’ for farmers that are busted growing industrial hemp..or the same old felony charges?

      Technically, any farmer that grows more than 0.15 acres of non-drug hemp (50,000 plants) is subject to the death penalty.

      Don’t you just love this ‘free’ country?

  3. “Patrick Kennedy’s Anti-Pot Group Pushes “propaganda” for Recreational Users”


    1. I tried posting critical comments on their Facebook page..they were taken down in less than a minute and I was permanently blocked…what cowards.

      I suppose it’s what they have to do when the comments are running at greater than 10:1 against them on these news stories.

  4. mandatory health screening and marijuana-education program.

    Hey! “Re-Education Camps”

    1. You can’r focus when you’re on the pot, so we’re going to send you to a camp to help you concentrate.

      1. Ms. Choksondik: Now Kyle, I need you to be quiet. In my class, you need to be able to concentrate. Concentration is the key to succeed in my class.

        Cartman: Maybe we should send him to a concentration camp. Oh! Dammit, dammit, dammit!

        Kyle 2: Cartman!

    2. It’s likely that Mel Sembler is financing SAM. He financed the anti-Amendment 64 group (Smart Colorado) last year. It’s no coincidence that SAM also goes by the same name.

      Mel Sembler’s name is most likely to strike fear into the hearts of anyone involved in teen drug rehabs. Sembler and his wife, Betty, founded a chain of such institutions under the name Straight, Inc., which at its peak in the ’80s had 12 clinics in nine states and a track record of extreme abuse.

      In one of many stories from Straight that have been exposed, a teenage girl testified to being compelled into the program after being caught with an airline bottle of liquor given to her by a friend, and then beaten, raped, locked in a janitor’s closet in pants soiled by urine, feces, and menstrual blood..

      Newton, who held a PhD in public administration from an unaccredited institution, was chosen by the Semblers to be their national clinical director. He has had to pay out over $12 million in damages to his victims, who he has thrown against walls, held against their will, kidnapped, restrained in leg irons, forced into servitude, and otherwise abused.”

      1. Here in GA last session the state rep who was pushing for unemployment recipients to get tested for drugs just happened to have made his fortune running rehab centers and drug testing labs.

        Must be nice to be able to drum up new business for yourself like that.

        1. Police in Massachusetts on Friday arrested a crime lab scientist and accused her of faking thousands of tests that may have put innocent people behind bars.

          Annie Dookhan was arrested at her home outside Boston.

          Police said the former state crime lab chemist admitted that she altered or faked test results of drug cases assigned to her. Prosecutors said she went as far as adding cocaine to samples that were negative.

          “There was clearly a short cutting of corners,” State Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “There was just getting this done as quickly as possible and all of that we’re looking at.”

          Officials said during her nine years the lab, Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples. About 11,000 people now in jail were put there in part due to her work.

          Already more than a dozen have been released because of questions about how she handled evidence.

          1. That’s not “cutting corners”, it’s outright fucking fraud.

      2. How is it that this “newton” asshole has avoided prison?


      3. Thank you. Seems the funding of Project SAM is a tightly kept secret.

    3. Progressives love to send other people to camps.

  5. The ever increasing melding of criminal justice and public health.

  6. I hate Rhode Island nazis.

  7. Assessment and mandatory treatment in prison for those who are addicted. Appropriate aftercare should be provided by service providers licensed by the state upon release.

    There are people out there who will think this is not only reasonable, but a kinder and gentler way to “help” those poor hopheads.

    Fucking slavers.

  8. Holy shit, that’s brilliant! Who would have thought that people only smoke pot because they don’t know what it does?

    1. And who better to educate us on marijuana than people who consistently get the facts and the science wrong?

      1. Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) claims that the earth is 9,000 years old because ‘the Bible tells him so’. Perhaps he wants to weigh in on the subject of marijuana policy just like Rep Kennedy?

    2. Well for one thing, if you smoke pot you could NEVER become president. Or play professional sports. Or be a movie star. Or create the next killer app.

  9. Who better to hector us on substance abuse than a Kennedy?

    1. Yeah, but when will they get around to teaching us about sexual harassment?

  10. Full decriminalization or nothing. The whole “lets treat marijuana as a health issue not a criminal issue” is a fool’s errand.

    1. Hear, hear.

      Because having no laws on the books whatsoever is a complete non-starter (sadly), I think “Treat pot like booze” is the way to go.

      1. Specifically, treat it like beer or wine, so people can make their own at home.

        1. yeah we need to work on that home distillation bit too.

          1. You are allowed to distill 10,000 gallons of moonshine per year at home legally with a free permit from the TTB (ATF).

    2. Decriminalization is nothing more than black market advocacy, unless the penalties for growing marijuana for personal use are reduced to civil fines.

      Alcohol prohibition was technically ‘decriminalization’ because enforcement was focused on the producers of alcohol, not the users. Look what that got us…Al Capone.

      Full legalization is the way to do.

    3. It is a health issue, John. I have it on good authority that (unnecessary) prison time is hazardous to one’s health.

    4. Forced treatment is just incarceration in everything but name. Do you think an employer is going to happily allow an employee time off to go to treatment?

    5. This. It’s just a “kindler, gentler” fascism.

  11. I love the self-righteous use of “Smart” in their name, but at the same time they already have policy initiative ready to go without much of any debate.

  12. That smoke-free laws apply to marijuana and tobacco.

    Gotta build more camps.

    1. SLD very much applies here, but I don’t see a problem with the consistency in the application of those laws. As RC Dean points out upthread, treating cannabis like alcohol is the most expedient (and pragmatic) way to go.

      1. As long as you can have cofeehouse type places that fall under exceptions like cigar and hookah places have I don’t really have a problem with it either. It’s so weird in amsterdam when cigarette smoke is banned but not mj smoke. Of course it’s pretty laxly enforced as nobody batted an eye at me rolling in tobacco with the good stuff.

        1. As the Kennedy group thinks marijuana should remain illegal I read this as tobacco should be prohibited as well.

  13. Wild ass guess: It will cost me thousands of dollars in ‘administrative fees’ for the privilege of attending pot re-education camp.

    Go piss up a rope.

  14. This is the same Patrick Kennedy that had multiple DUI/drug incidents while in Congress, right? Maybe he just assumes that since he can’t control himself, no one else can.

    1. That’s his exact motivation. He especially assumes his kid can’t, because he obviously has evil addict genes.

    2. Will no one relieve me of these perfidious Kennedys? How much longer must America suffer under the hypocritical tyranny?!

      1. Not much longer, I don’t think. Each generation becomes more and more of a joke.

        1. Killers, rapists, war-mongers, dope addicts, drunks, philanderers, Wall-Street cheats — and now a Stalinist-Nazi drug warrior from the Kennedy Klan. They somehow manage to get reelected!

  15. The average teenage recreational pot smoker could “educate” any Government worker *for hours* on Marijuana

    “Ok dude, first – do you know the difference between Indica and Sativa? Whoa, we have some work to do. does the name “Jack Herer” ring any bells? DUDE!! Cannibus Cup *winner* 3 years in a Row?? Duh! What are the 3 biggest differences between Indo and Outdoh? Vaporizer versus Binger? How to avoid sticky-fingers when twisting blunts? COTTON MOUTH SOLUTIONS?!? LORD MAN DO YOU KNOW *NOTHING*!?!?!?”

    1. How about educating the government workers on the difference between fiber hemp and Afghan Kush?

      The drug Czar and the head of the DEA claim that they can’t tell the difference.

  16. Dude is not making all kinds of sense dude.

  17. If this guy is sure he wants marijuana to remain illegal, I’m sure he would be happy to debate the subject.
    All the marijuana activist groups should challenge SAM to a debate.

  18. If you live in a state where Marijuana isn’t legal yet and still want the same type of highs,klima servisi I suggest checking out It has amazingly detailed legal highs reviews and where to get them without getting ripped off!
    Also! I’m starting up ar?elik klima servisi a new forum dedicated to my fellows stoners. Come on over and join the high conversations! We’re quite new, but VERY welcoming.

  19. I think it’s time vestel klima servisi we start legalizing Marijuana everywhere. Stop living in demird?k?m kombi servisi fear and start thinking about how great the future will be! LEGALIZE IT!

  20. and in regards to legalized MJ, vaillant kombi servisi i am seeing little to no negative comments amongst the cops. mostly support, and a few people are like “i think this is vaillant kombi servisi a dumb decision, but whatever. i’ve got better things to do with my time than MJ enforcement”.

  21. exactly. there will be a point kombi servisi of critical mass, and that will prompt the feds. they will be on the losing side of history FOR A WHILE. beylikd?z? kombi servisi
    it always happens that way. but eventually, the rescheduling will commence. in some way that allows them to think they are saving face.

  22. Also! I’m starting up kad?k?y kombi servisi
    a new forum dedicated to my fellows stoners. Come on webmaster forumlar?
    over and join the high conversations! We’re quite new, but VERY welcoming.

  23. earned that one “Sharon Levy” cares more for boot licking than the Hip sohbet odalar? & cinsel sohbet

  24. I really love coming here to have a very good blog sohbet odalar?

  25. All the marijuana activist groups should challenge SAM to a debate

  26. All the marijuana activist groups should challenge SAM to a debate

  27. All the marijuana activist groups should challenge SAM to a debate

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.