Ontario’s New Retail Pot Plan ‘Puts Profit Over Public Health’ Says Former Obama Drug Adviser

Article by Colin Butler, CBC News

Ontario's new retail pot plan 'puts profit over public health' says former Obama drug adviser Facebook Twitter Reddit LinkedIn Email Kevin Sabet was a drug control policy adviser in the White House for both Republicans and Democrats Colin Butler · CBC News Kevin Sabet is the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, a non-profit agency in the United States devoted to 'preventing another big tobacco.' (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) By hiring doctors and extolling the health benefits of weed, the cannabis industry is using the same tactics tobacco did in the 20th century, according to Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug policy advisor who sees weed as 'the next big tobacco.' (Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)

When most people talk about Canada’s impending legalization of marijuana, they talk about the future. When Kevin Sabet talks about it, he worries about history repeating.

“There are huge misconceptions, I often feel like we’re living in 1918, not 2018,” he said.”When I say 1918, I mean 1918 for tobacco when everyone thought that smoking cigarettes was no problem and we had a new industry that was just starting.”

In 1918, soldiers returning home from the trenches of the First World War brought cigarettes home with them and unwittingly sowed the seeds of one of 20th century’s biggest health epidemics.

“We hadn’t had tobacco related deaths before the 20th century because we hadn’t had a lot of cigarettes, which actually gave us the most deadly form of tobacco we’ve ever seen. I feel like we’re like that with marijuana.”

Preventing ‘the next big tobacco’

A former drug control policy adviser to the White House under both the Democrats and Republicans, Sabet is the President and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a public health organization opposed to marijuana legalization and commercialization in the United States.

He said the sudden about-face by Ontario’s newly-elected Progressive Conservative government away from a public monopoly on marijuana sales to a mixed public-private is “a really bad move.”

Read the full article here.

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