SAM shows its true totalitarian colors


The marijuana prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) piously claims it favors “alternatives” to jailing people for possession and use of marijuana, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that it got around to stating just what those “alternatives” were.

Now it has — and they read like something out of Soviet psychiatry or a Chinese re-education camp.

A posting on the SAM website lists a number of points that should be included in “model legislation” for alternatives to jailing people for pot while still keeping it illegal. For openers, the organization favors giving people a ticket for marijuana possession instead of arresting them — which is already done in a lot of states.

It’s what happens next where SAM shows its true colors:

“Require mandatory assessment of problem drug use by a treatment professional after the first citation; those who are diagnosed with a substance use disorder can be diverted into a treatment track where they receive the appropriate level of care, those who are not problem users can be directed to social services for follow-up and addressing other life factors contributing to drug use.”

Let’s take a closer look at the wording here.

SAM wants to force someone arrested for the first time for marijuana possession to undergo an “assessment of problem drug use,” not an “assessment for problem drug use.” In other words, SAM is saying that someone caught with pot should be assumed to have a drug-use problem (whatever that means) unless a “treatment professional” (whatever that means) finds otherwise.

If the “treatment professional” diagnoses the offender as having a “substance use disorder,” the offender “can be diverted in a treatment track” where he receives “the appropriate level of (mandatory) care” — or, more plainly, of re-education or brainwashing. If he doesn’t agree to it, it’s “bad stoner, no alternative to jail for you.”

But what if the “treatment professional” finds that the offender is not a “problem user”? The offender still isn’t off the hook. In that case the offender will be “directed to social services” (whoever that is) “for follow-up and addressing other life factors contributing to drug use” — or, more plainly, custodialized.

The phrase “substance use disorder” is the one phrase in SAM’s guide for model legislation that comes with a meaningful definition attached to it. It is defined in the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health — and the definition is applied to marijuana in a way that makes it possible to brand someone who smokes pot as few as six times a year as having a “marijuana use disorder.”

The Sept. 20, 2018 Cannabis Corner contains a detailed discussion of this.

My conclusion in that piece was that “some credentialed charlatans in the federal government and the psych community are trying to define normal human conduct — occasional use of marijuana or regular use in moderation — as mental illness,” and that this isn’t much different than how the People’s Republic of China and the late Soviet Union tried to weaponize mental health for use against dissidents.

Weaponizing mental health is exactly what SAM and Kevin Sabet, the creep who runs it, are proposing as the centerpiece of their new strategy for keeping marijuana illegal.

Asked for a comment on SAM’s latest scam by Marijuana Moment, NORML’s deputy director Paul Armentano said SAM’s “overarching philosophy appears to be ‘Only people with problems use marijuana.’

“Clearly, SAM believes that marijuana use per se should be defined under the law as aberrant behavior requiring varying degrees of state intervention,” he said. “Such an approach perpetuates the needless stigmatization of marijuana and those who consume it, and is clearly at odds with the attitudes of the majority of the public who desire to see an end to these discriminatory and punitive public policies.”

The mental condition that has been doing real violence to the country’s liberty and social fabric isn’t marijuana use disorder. It’s Totalitarian Gestalt disorder. Sabet has a bad case of it, and he should get professional help.