Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is an alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy. We are professionals working in mental health and public health. We are bipartisan. We are medical doctors, lawmakers, treatment providers, preventionists, teachers, law enforcement officers and others who seek a middle road between incarceration and legalization. Our commonsense, third-way approach to marijuana policy is based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety.
Mission & Vision
Smart Approaches to Marijuana envisions a society where marijuana policies are aligned with the scientific understanding of marijuana’s harms, and the commercialization and normalization of marijuana are no more.
Our mission is to educate citizens on the science of marijuana and to promote health-first, smart policies and attitudes that decrease marijuana use and its consequences.
believe in an approach that neither legalizes, nor demonizes, marijuana.
reject dichotomies — such as “incarceration versus legalization” — that offer only simplistic solutions to the highly complex problems stemming from marijuana use and the policies surrounding it.
champion smart policies that decrease marijuana use — and do not harm marijuana users and low-level dealers with arrest records that stigmatize them for life and in ways that make it even harder for them to break free from cycles of substance dependence.
Stop Marijuana Legalization and Commercialization
SAM’s primary focus is educating the public about the harms of marijuana legalization—a policy which has consistently placed corporate profits and addiction ahead of public health. We provide information on the harms of such policies to interested parties for use in messaging, and educate federal and state legislators on the benefits of a science-based marijuana policy.
Educate policy-makers and the public on the harms of marijuana use and marijuana commercialization
SAM also invests heavily its longer-term goals of educating the public and policy-makers alike on the harms of marijuana use and marijuana commercialization, the importance of science-based drug policy, and research into the potential medical use of compounds derived from marijuana. Working with our state affiliates, we hold federal, state, and local-level briefings across the country on these issues, and produce and distribute a wide range of related educational materials at no charge.
At the local, state, Tribal and federal levels, SAM seeks to align marijuana policy and attitudes about the drug with 21st-century science, which continues to show how marijuana use harms the mind and body.
We also seek to expand awareness about an ever-growing marijuana industry that will stop at nothing to increase addiction – and its profits.
SAM works to bridge the gap between the public’s understanding of marijuana and science’s understanding of marijuana.
We are people from across the political spectrum. We are professionals working in mental health and public health. We are bipartisan. We are medical doctors, lawmakers, treatment providers, preventionists, teachers, law enforcement officers and others who seek a middle road between incarceration and legalization. And we all have come to the same conclusion: marijuana should not be legalized, and thus commercialized.
SAM’s experts and supporters are advocating for a fresh approach that neither legalizes, nor demonizes, marijuana.
Our Four Pillars
To inform public policy with the science of today’s marijuana.
To prevent the establishment of Big Marijuana that would market marijuana to children — and to prevent Big Tobacco from taking over Big Marijuana. Those are the very likely results of legalization.
To have honest conversation about legal reforms that include reducing the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
To promote research on marijuana in order to obtain FDA-approved, pharmacy-dispensed, cannabis-based medications.