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Kevin Sabet’s Greatest Hits

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Our old friend Kevin Sabet recently took to the pages of The Hill to whine about his side not getting enough representation at the recent federal hearing concerning marijuana prohibition. I guess 80+ years of government dominated by politicians who support prohibition, dozens of op-eds in various high-circulation publications and appearances on CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and a Ted Talk just aren’t enough to get Kevin’s points across. 

Since I’m an empathetic individual and I feel Kevin’s pain, allow me to break down his usual talking points, which can be seen on display in The Hill piece linked above.

Kevin’s number 1 move is to link marijuana to tobacco early and often. As he does in the piece above, he will often use the term “Big Tobacco” and link it in your mind with companies that sell marijuana products. Of course, tobacco has killed hundreds of millions of people and marijuana has killed no one, but if you can link marijuana to a dangerous substance, then it makes the rest of the talking points a little more digestible.

Next comes a short list of the so-called failures of legalization, mainly how legalization causes more minorities to go to jail because minorities are still arrested at a higher rate than whites, so even though fewer minorities overall are being arrested, this is still devastating for minority communities. Kevin then goes on to allude to the fact that many cannabis stores are opened in minority communities, which simultaneously tears at the fabric of the community while those businesses also somehow avoid hiring anyone in the community and avoid making any sort of economic impact in the community.

This is usually followed by a few cherry-picked studies that Kevin claims show marijuana use leads to psychosis. A new quiver in Kevin’s arsenal crops up in the piece, the study that supposedly proves that marijuana does not help with opioid addiction and deaths, something I covered here.

At the end, Kevin will often bring it all back to what he likes to call “Big Tobacco 2.0”. If Kevin can make you think marijuana legalization is as dangerous as tobacco being legal, then it’s nothing for him to get you to buy the rest of his spiel.

But the major hole is Kevin’s theory – not the only hole, just the biggest – is the fact that cannabis is demonstrably safer than tobacco. His often-used implication that minority communities will be harmed by marijuana legalization because marijuana is dangerous and minorities are easily taken in by the slick advertising of Big Marijuana is really just passive aggressive racism once you have to admit that marijuana and tobacco are wildly different substances.

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