MercatorNet 20 April 2015
Kevin Sabet is one of the leading voices opposing the legalization of marijuana in the United States. He has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and in virtually every major media publication and news channel on the subject of drug policy. MercatorNet’s associate editor, Zac Alstin, asked what drives his campaign.
Zac Alstin: What’s your biggest fear about the legalization of marijuana in the US?
Kevin Sabet: I am against legalization, but not against reform. We need to rethink current laws and reduce our overreliance on the criminal justice system. We also need better re-entry and recovery programs. At the same time, when I see what’s going on in places like Colorado, we’re foolishly going down the path of creating another Big Tobacco. The idea that we would think of legalization as a public health success is misguided unless in you’re in the business of making money off addiction. That’s what this is about: money.
Zac Alstin: You’re worried that marijuana will grow from a Mom and Pop industry into a corporate behemoth like Big Tobacco. But is anyone actually planning to create Big Marijuana?
Zac Alstin: If marijuana is legalized and corporatized, what kind of world will American kids grow up in?
Zac Alstin: But can’t you regulate the industry, just as tobacco is regulated today?
Zac Alstin: Who are the commercial interests behind Big Marijuana? What motivates them, what kinds of investors and entrepreneurs are putting their money behind this?
Zac Alstin: Wouldn’t legalization help governments by widening their tax base and weakening organized crime by cutting out their profits?
Zac Alstin: Are you optimistic about changing people’s attitudes toward legalization? Change is looking inevitable, isn’t it?