Several states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, empowering a new, for-profit industry targeting kids with a dangerous and addictive product. Much like the tobacco industry, “Big Marijuana” will pull out all the stops to grow its bottom line – as well as its political influence – in these states, with potentially detrimental side effects. We need to look no further than Colorado to see the impacts on public health and safety, as well as the bold marketing tactics being used to push products like THC-infused gummy bears, “pot tarts,” and a wide range of other products that may look harmless to our children, but are actually quite the opposite.
Regardless of any election outcome in one year or another, we need to hold Big Marijuana accountable for their actions, today and every day. We cannot let another industry dead-set on hooking a new generation gain an unfettered foothold in society without a watchdog at their back. And we can’t wait around for someone else to do it.
We must act now.
Smart Approaches to Marijuana and its partners are spearheading a new initiative called the Marijuana Accountability Project (MAP). Our objective is to be a credible and trusted resource for the sensible oversight of the marijuana industry as it begins to take hold in states. While we are hopeful that some states will defeat these ballot measures, we acknowledge that some are likely to pass. If so, we must be certain the industry doesn’t receive a blank check. And even if we win, we need to continue pushing back against the abusive practices of the marijuana industry in the states that have already legalized marijuana.
MAP will include the following activities in 2017:
SAM will boost federal lobbying efforts to stop legalization on the federal level.
State Report Card Tracking Project
Evaluate the states with legal recreational marijuana across the following metrics: Public health (incidence rates of poisonings across age and demos), public safety (car crashes, ER visits), marketing (evaluate and compare based on other legal drugs), political influence (track lobbying and spending), and economic impact (promises made on funding, promises kept?)
We anticipate holding up to five community roundtables, open to the media, in select states in the first year. At these events, we will release the results of the tracking project, and hear from citizens who have been impacted by legalization and the industry as a whole. These roundtables will serve two purposes: show the real life impact of legalization, and promote MAP as a critical oversight voice.
Public Education/PSA Campaign
SAM will launch a media campaign called “Are We Sure?” that asks localities if they really want marijuana stores in their neighborhoods. The campaign will also be used in non-legalization states, and will educate the public on today’s high THC marijuana and its impacts.
Earned media will be a critical component to ensure the accountability messaging and approach is well understood in our target states, and pushes the agenda forward. Our tactics will include op-eds, rapid response, editorial board visits, press conferences, and reporter briefings.
Organization of Municipalities Concerned about Marijuana (OMCM)
OMCM will consist of officials from localities that have implemented strict controls on marijuana, including those that have banned marijuana stores altogether, and officials from other jurisdictions interested in promoting public health-based marijuana laws. Through OMCM, these localities will share best practices, model ordinances, and other strategies.
SAM Legal Initiative
SAM will launch an initiative to hold marijuana businesses accountable to the law of the land, and research legal compliance issues.
SAM State Legislative Caucus
The SAM State Legislative Caucus will bring together likeminded state legislators who want to stop legalization and commercialization, and share best practices on marijuana policy.
MAP will also develop copies of model state laws and local ordinances to control the marijuana industry, incorporating best practices from existing laws and input from scientific and legal experts.
To do all this, we need your support.
Please consider joining MAP as a founding partner. We believe that though close collaboration, we can change the trajectory of marijuana legalization, and ensure that there is a strong voice pushing back on the agenda and tactics of Big Marijuana.