Oxycodone addict and member of notoriously drunken rich clan with fortune built on bootlegging opposes decriminalization of pot


Alcohol is legal; smashing up bars is not.

I can’t make this stuff up.

Retired Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy is taking aim at what he sees as knee-jerk support for marijuana legalization among his fellow liberals, in a project that carries special meaning for the self-confessed former oxycodone addict.

Kennedy, 45, a Democrat and younger son of Edward Kennedy, is leading a group called Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) that opposes legalization and seeks to rise above America’s culture war over pot.

The sense of entitlement boggles the mind:  why would anyone find him a credible advocate?  Or is this a case of the convert being more Catholic than the Pope, as it were?  For the record, it sounds like SAM’s ideas are pretty good ones–support for more treatment, treating marijuana as a public health issue–except for opposing decriminalization.  (Hint:  there would be no need to offer help so that “those caught using marijuana might avoid incarceration, get help and potentially have their criminal records cleared” if they couldn’t be convicted of marijuana use!)

I guess we’ll have to steel ourselves in Colorado for an invasion of a whole nation of Carrie Nations over the next several years.  You have to give it to the the temperance movement:  however mistaken, they weren’t hypocritical.  And it certainly wasn’t led by a bunch of drunks!


18 thoughts on “Oxycodone addict and member of notoriously drunken rich clan with fortune built on bootlegging opposes decriminalization of pot

  1. In what way is marijuana a “public health issue?” Its illegal trade creates a public safety issue, I’ll grant you that. And its illegal cultivation creates an environmental issue, this too is true.

    There are perhaps no more strident sheep in the flock than those who have been saved by their faith.


  2. I think that marijuana could be considered a public health issue because its abuse causes a variety of physical and mental health problems for a large number of people, and serious problems for their relatives, etc. This isn’t necessarily an argument for keeping it illegal – alcohol could also be considered a public health issue for the same reasons.

    Then again, it is hard to define what makes something a “public” health issue. Is it simply a health issue that effects a large enough number of people?


  3. I think pot is certainly a public health issue, but it’s not subject to abuse by everyone, of course. (So is sugar, or carbs, or junk food, or whatever, substances that are OK in small amounts or moderation.) I think that the reason our pot decriminalization ballot issue passed here is that the measure called for “regulating pot like alcohol,” which is essentially Paul S.’s point. Too much pot is a problem for some people, just as too much booze is a problem for others, and that abuse is the public health issue.

    (That said, I think it’s more of an issue for alcohol than pot, as we don’t have reliable data or even methods for assessing the effects of stoned driving like we do drunk driving.)


  4. Another thought: maybe Patrick Kennedy is another latter-day bootlegger, making fantastic sums on pot trafficking as his grandfather did in bootlegging? Preserving that black market margin is what makes is so profitable, after all.

    No, that’s too scurrilous even for me to believe about a Kennedy.


  5. I’m wondering whether we’re making anything more than an amorphous semantic distinction at this point between “legalization” and “decriminalization?” The one “crime” I could see emanating from the former would be the inevitable and relentless march of commerce into the enterprise. I bailed on this business a long time ago, but–and I’m sure this is early-boomer nostalgia as much as anything–one of the upsides of stuffing the wet towels into the cracks of the dorm room doors, and other rituals of performative subterfuge, was the embedded anti-capitalism of it all. Cutesy brand names (o.k., I guess “Minnesota Green” was cutesy, but that was explicitly for the *baaad* stuff), buy-one-get-one-free offers, being entered in a drawing to win a week in a time share with every brick purchased, pop-up ads on social media with “what your friends are puffing,” money-eating vending machines, and things of that nature, would for me constitute a big fat bummer, even as a spectator sport. I think I could still live with the $10 a summary violation “traffic ticket” concept–*if* you got caught, and *if* they were even bothering to deal with that infraction category this month–if it would help to keep the r&d and product placement boys on the sidelines.


  6. As with the tobacco industry, there has to be a ‘moderation’ movement, to prevent further cracking down, yet allowing for ‘social’ puffers to be good about maintaining control.

    I wouldn’t put it past him to be representing those monied interests ready to move into corporate marijuana production, but through a gradualist framework administered through the states. It’d be the best of both worlds, lucratively — higher margins in the illegal states, but enhanced marketing and quality control, in the legal ones. Sorta like Coors Beer in the 70s — the scarcity (and perceived naughtiness), not quality, drives the market.

    And ‘seeks to rise above America’s culture war over pot,’ my shiny metal ass — and coupling ‘culture war’ with ‘knee-jerk liberal’ is tres-shady optics, especially when that combo bespeaks a hard-right influence — especially when it’s the right-libertarians that champion legalization to the point of mania.


  7. Piggy hypocrisy. If you’re white you can enjoy marijuana and other drugs (Adderall, anyone?) with few hassles; if you’re black, law enforcement will often throw the book at you. Li’l Kennedy has got to know that.

    The former rep must be dreaming of another election. Could be looking for a pseudo-contrarian issue–many liberals or suspected liberals seem to want one–to show how independent he is, without threatening privileges of druggy friends and druggy self.


  8. Patrick Kennedy’s opinion really doesn’t matter. By the way, he is entitled to believe in whatever he wants. Societies are in the business of forbidding. No meat on Friday, no pork or alcohol, kosher food. Prohibition, cannot cut of the label on the mattress.

    The terribly costly unsuccessful war on drugs
    destroys lives, kills people and wastes money. Our society uses it to outcast, mainly, people of color but others too. Public health in a country that doesn’t believe in universal health care is cruel joke.


  9. There is also a huge industry built around the idea of “pot addiction,” and the concept of pot as a gateway drug. It taps into the substantial sums available inparents’ health insurance policies for residential treatment for kids — which I can tell you first hand are mostly a shuck. Those that provide real psychiatric care are really expensive and beyond the reach of most people.


  10. Marijuana is a public health issue because if it’s legalized, everybody who lives in an apartment building will be forced to smell the smoke of their neighbors.

    Do we want more people–more asthma sufferers, more senior citizens, more children–to be inhaling others’ smoke every day? All apartments/condos have common air flow.


  11. Yeah, but that’s true of cigarette smoke too, Shelley. I think it stinks (literally), but I don’t think that’s a reason to continue criminalizing pot.

    I’ve never been a pot smoker, so correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think most people smoke pot all day long, whereas cigarette smokers do in fact smoke throughout the day. Pot is for most people one or two shared joints a week, far from the equivalent of a 1/2 or full pack a day of cigarettes.


  12. Even here in Louisiana, which is not healthy and full of cigarette smokers, the vaporizer is really big and pot smoking does not necessarily lead to worse things like nicotine addiction.


  13. Indyanna pretty much describes the way a lot of mj dispenseries in California operate. Cutesy strain names, promotional items (free joint with purchase!) and even a (heavily armored) vending machine are all real things.

    I would rather live near stoners than chain smokers. Tobacco smoke lasts much longer and clings to everything. You know someone smokes tobacco in their home once you walk into it, but unless the smoke is fresh, I don’t notice anything like that in stoner homes.

    One of the things that does annoy me are the empty green plastic bottles I find strewn about. Usually along with empty cheetos flaming hot bags and gatorade bottles. Were there no weed bottles to throw on the ground, I’m sure the other garbage components would remain.


  14. I don’t oppose decriminalizing marijuana, but I think there is good reason to treat use as a public health issue as has been done with cigarettes and alcohol. There are legitimate medical uses for marijuana but like any drug there are significant health risks as well. My fear is that as marijuana becomes a commodity like tobacco, we will see it being promoted as “healthy” for everyone at any time (like those cigarette ads from the early twentieth century with doctors endorsing the health benefits of various brands)


  15. KC–that’s a good point. The medical application will lend itself to more plausible marketing for “health” reasons.

    I will probably still continue to abstain, even here in green Colorado. (At least until I have cancer or glaucoma!)


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