Patrick Kennedy’s Anti-Pot Crusade Conflicts With His Own Congressional Record

Must-read email exchange shows Kennedy backtracking on medical marijuana and more.

Mike Riggs
Reason Magazine

Former Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy has taken a hard line stance against marijuana since leaving office in 2011. The one-time prescription pill addict is on a media tour in support of his new role as chair of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or Project SAM, an anti-marijuana-legalization group founded by former drug czar advisor Kevin Sabet in response to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

Kennedy has earned the ire of marijuana reformers by calling pot a “very dangerous drug” that’s no different from hard drugs like heroin and meth. In the last month, Kennedy’s group has called for intervention and rehab for marijuana users and the closure of all medical marijuana dispensaries and cannabis clubs. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Kennedy personally asked the Department of Justice to block recreational marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington.

In response, marijuana policy reformers have criticized Kennedy for pushing “mandatory marijuana-education programs,” “working out his personal control issues in public,” and grossly overstating the addictiveness and dangers of marijuana. Missing from their critiques is the fact that Kennedy has done a 180-degree policy reversal, practically overnight…

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