Quarterbacking the gummy bear trick

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Toms Baugis/Wikimedia Commons

Kevin Sabet, the creep who once described himself as “the quarterback” of the anti-marijuana legalization movement, is the kind of guy who gives a drug-free lifestyle a bad name.

Sabet, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), is definitely old school when it comes to fighting the scourge of marijuana. Which is to say he lies a lot.

And it’s hard to find a better example of this than the tale of Sabet and the great gummy bear heist, which took place last September during the (successful) campaign to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts.

On Sept. 21, Sabet participated in a debate on Massachusetts Question 4, the state’s legalization initiative, broadcast live on Boston TV station WGBH.

In the course of the debate, Sabet pulled two plastic bags of candy out of his pocket. One of them was filled with round candies. The other one contained gummy bears, which he said were infused with marijuana extract.

“I think parents should ask themselves whether they can tell which bag of candy here is marijuana and which one isn’t,” he said.

“…[I]f you can’t tell, which you probably can’t, I’ll bet you your kid can’t tell, either. … The reason the emergency admissions in Colorado for kids under five … has gone up significantly, uh, doubled, is because these kinds of things are lying around. … Of course they’re marketed to young people, and young people are ingesting them.

“They are essentially — again one of them is real and one of them isn’t — they are the real candy here (motioning at the gummy bear bag) that are simply sprayed with THC. And there’s no way to tell the difference.”

When the debate was over, Sabet left the stage to mingle with the audience, but he left both bags of candy on a table on the stage.

And someone swooped in and swiped them.

“Someone stole the edibles,” a panicking Sabet exclaimed, and asked the TV crew in the room if he could check their tape.

It’s not clear who the perp was, but the bags ended up in the possession of Keith Saunders, a representative of MassCann NORML, a Massachusetts affiliate of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. Saunders subsequently announced he was taking the candy to a testing lab for THC analysis.

The results of the analysis stood to show that Sabet broke the law with his candyman showboating — regardless of how it came out.

At the time of the debate, possession of marijuana or marijuana edibles was a crime in Massachusetts. If the analysis came back positive, it would mean that Sabet broke the Massachusetts law by possessing infused edibles — as well as federal law by possessing a Schedule I controlled substance for that matter.

And if the analysis came back negative, it would also show that Sabet committed a crime. That’s because Massachusetts law also makes it a crime to possess fake drugs.

At which point Sabet realized that his exercise in political theater was about to end in a pratfall, and he admitted to a reporter for Boston’s Fox News affiliate that there was no THC in either bag of candy.

Sabet had worked for years as an advisor on drug policy to Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama and to numerous drug czars, so it’s inconceivable that he wasn’t familiar with the laws that he chose to flaunt.

In other words, the centerpiece of Sabet’s presentation during a crucial pre-election debate on marijuana legalization in Massachusetts that was televised state-wide was a brazen attempt to influence the outcome of an election with a deliberate lie.

According to the SAM website, the organization will be active in the 2017 and 2018 election and legislative cycles and in educating “policy-makers and the public on the harms of marijuana use and marijuana commercialization.” So it’s important for policy-makers and the public to know the content of the character of the man who presumes to instruct them — assuming he has any.

  • Brian Kelly

    There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

    The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

    Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

    Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

    With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?

    Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!

  • tmmr

    “Sabet had worked for years as an advisor on drug policy to Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama and to numerous drug czars, so it’s inconceivable that he wasn’t familiar with the laws that he chose to flaunt.”

    That’s flout, Paul, not flaunt.

  • Michael L. Wallace Jr.

    Harry Anslinger – The 2nd Antichrist & his Hate Group (DEA) Steal from , Enslave & Imprison the Innocent with Rapist , Murderers & Thieves . Now Kevin Sabet & Jeff Sessions .

    • Erich Severs

      Henry Anslinger