Imagine being the folks at Project SAM. Marijuana legalization is spreading across the country, to the point where most of the US could have medical marijuana laws by 2017, and upwards of 10 states could have recreational legalization by then as well. It must be similar to working for D.A.R.E. — a feeling of being outdated, being several years past any usefulness you might have had.
With each political loss comes the knowledge that your time is running out, that the money is going to dry up. You are screaming into the wind but no one cares enough to try and figure out what you’re saying.
The last card Project SAM has to play is the “What about the children?” card. Somehow weed is going to corrupt the youth of the world and send society into a downward spiral of destruction and despair. This pulls on the heartstrings of the soccer moms and drives them to vote “no” on legal weed.
Imagine working at Project SAM and getting numbers that show heavy teen marijuana use is going up! Oh, happy day! Get that press release typed up and get it out there! Just one problem:
Teen use actually went down. The SAM press release says, “Overall past month marijuana use among those 12 and older also jumped significantly,” when it fact heavy use among those 12-17 who smoked in the past month went from 25.6 percent to 21.8 percent.
Embarrassing to be sure. SAM quickly amended its press release to highlight the slight increase in use among 16-17 year olds, but the damage has been done. It’s a screw up that makes SAM less credible in the eyes of the last venue that will promote them: the mainstream press. If SAM can’t even read cannabis use data, why would people like Kevin Sabet need to be interviewed on MSNBC?