SAM or sham?
Last week brought the creation of a new national anti-legalization group, called Project SAM: Smart Approaches to Marijuana, with an interesting approach. Chaired by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy), SAM (learnaboutsam.com) says it wants to "move beyond simplistic dichotomies of 'incarceration versus legalization' and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy."
Basically, the Denver-based group plans on doing this through pushing prison-sentence reform, keeping Big Tobacco out of the industry, and trying to kill the existing industry through "getting information to lawmakers and the public about the perils of marijuana addiction and legalization."
The Marijuana Policy Project (mpp.org), which just funded the majority of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, was not amused.
"Former Congressman Kennedy's proposal is the definition of hypocrisy," says Mason Tvert, the group's recently hired communications director. "He is living in part off of the fortune his family made by selling alcohol."
A press release on which Westword reported last week says the Cannabis Alliance for Regulation and Education (equalizecannabis.com), an effort that includes noted activists Rico Colibri and Kathleen Chippi, is seeking volunteers to create the A64 Shadow Task Force.
"We feel the formation of such a group is needed after reviewing the task force's first set of meetings," it reads, "as it became clear that Colorado needs a broader and more inclusive and diverse think tank."
If interested, send a résumé to Colibri at email@example.com.
• The trial of local MMJ pioneer Mike Lee has been delayed multiple times, but is finally set to start Feb. 4. "The prosecutor in the case has made a motion to dismiss the 2 felony counts — and refile 2 misdemeanors," writes district attorney spokeswoman Lee Richards in an e-mail.
• The Colorado Springs group Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights (c4cpr.org) is coming to a screen near you, writes president Audrey Hatfield in a Facebook message. "We will feature a local cannabis business and patient with each show and we also will have a small audience." It starts at 7 p.m., Feb. 5., and can be live-streamed at denveropenmedia.org/livestream.
• A press release says a new study, conducted in part by the University of Colorado's Daniel I. Rees, shows that "laws that make it illegal to drive with detectable levels of a controlled substance in the system have little to no effect on traffic fatalities." Read it yourself at tinyurl.com/thcduistudy.