Kevin Abraham Sabet-Sharghi
Kevin Sabet, speaking at the New Yorker Magazine Festival, 2014
|Residence||Washington, DC and Cambridge, MA|
|Known for||A "Third Way" in Drug Policy,
A "Smart approach to marijuana policy"
|Awards||Marshall Scholarship, Nils Bejerot Award for Global Drug Prevention, John P. McGovern Award|
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley|
|Doctoral advisor||George Smith|
|Other academic advisors||Bruce Cain|
William "Sandy" Muir
|Influences||David F. Musto|
Robert L. DuPont
|Discipline||drug policy, public policy, journalism|
|Institutions||The White House, ONDCP, Yale University, University of Florida, SAM|
Kevin Abraham Sabet-Sharghi (born February 20, 1979) is a former three-time White House Office of National Drug Control Policy advisor, having been the only person appointed to that office by both a Republican (Administration of George W. Bush) and Democrat (Obama Administration and Clinton Administration). He is also an assistant professor adjunct at Yale University Medical School, a fellow at Yale’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies, the Director of the Drug Policy Institute, and a courtesy assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Florida.
Sabet is the author of numerous articles and monographs including the book Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana, now in its second edition.
Sabet is the recipient of the Nils Bejerot Award given in conjunction with H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden and was one of four Americans (along with Jonathan Caulkins, Bertha Madras, and Robert DuPont) invited by Pope Francis to the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences to discuss marijuana and other drug policy. He was invited to speak at the Allen and Co. Sun Valley Investor's Conference in 2018.
Education and career
Sabet is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Oxford University, where he received his Doctorate in social policy as a Marshall Scholar. He is an opponent of drug legalization and has spoken on behalf of the Obama Administration on the subject. After leaving ONDCP after 2.5 years, he became a consultant and professor. Rolling Stone called him one of marijuana legalization's biggest enemies.
Drug policy advocacy
During his freshman year at Berkeley, Sabet started Citizens for a Drug-Free Berkeley and worked to educate his peers on the "wave of destruction" that comes with club drugs, including MDMA. He has testified for the US Congress, Canadian Parliament, UK Parliament, and UN bodies multiple times. He provided written testimony to the U.S. Senate on cannabidiol.
Sabet has written on the need for prevention, treatment, and enforcement to guide drug policy, although he has also argued for abolishing severe sentencing guidelines, like mandatory minimum laws. His articles have been published in newspapers, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. He has argued for removing criminal penalties for low-level marijuana use, has opposed legalization while supporting continued civil penalties for use, along with mandated treatment. He supports felony charges for manufacturing or selling large amounts of cannabis (or misdemeanors, depending on amount).
Through the work of SAM, Sabet has been an active voice in successful campaigns to stop marijuana legalization initiatives in Ohio (2015), and legislative initiatives in New Jersey. In New Jersey, Sabet and SAM have partnered with senators, including Senator Ronald Rice, pastors, community organizers, and other public health and safety advocates to resist Governor Phil Murphy's push to commercialize marijuana in the state.
In the 2018 legislative sessions, Sabet and SAM have been active with coalitions in successful efforts to defeat marijuana legalization and commercialization bills in Illinois, New Hampshire, and Vermont. While Vermont decriminalized marijuana possession in 2013 and allowed for personal use and "home-grow" in 2018, Sabet and SAM have worked with partners to defeat outright commercialization such as seen in Colorado, California, and Washington. In North Dakota, Sabet and SAM allies campaigned against a ballot measure to legalize cannabis that was defeated.
Prior to SAM's founding, Sabet wrote op-eds and spoke across Colorado, Washington State, and Oregon. SAM campaigned against initiatives to legalize marijuana in California, Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Michigan. However, none of these efforts were successful, as marijuana was legalized in each of these states.
Some say Sabet is arguably the most influential person in the movement against cannabis legalization in the United States.
However, throughout Sabet's career, many have raised concerns about Sabet and SAM exhibiting a pattern of using questionable methods to present arguments, such as providing misleading or incorrect information and distorting data.
In September 2016, Sabet appeared at a forum at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, where he stated he had "props" of two bags of candy that he claimed included one bag of regular candy and one bag of THC-infused candy. He asserted, "one of them is real, one of them isn’t." After the forum concluded, Sabet left both bags of candy unattended, which were subsequently stolen. The attendee of the forum (a pro-legalization activist) who stole the bags allegedly submitted them to a laboratory for testing of their marijuana content, and claimed that neither bag contained any THC (the psychoactive compound of marijuana). Sabet later said, "No, of course they weren’t real...I told Fox News that they weren’t that very night. I was making a point that you can’t tell the difference between real and fake pot edibles—and if someone from [the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws] couldn’t tell the difference and had to steal them to find out, I think the point was made pretty well.” despite his claims on the night of the debate that they were, in fact, real.
In addition to his work on cannabis, Sabet has written on the benefits of alcohol prohibition. Namely, that the prohibition of alcohol led to positive outcomes for public health, such as a 66 percent reduction in cases of cirrhosis of the liver in males and a 50 percent reduction in arrests for public intoxication. That said, he stated that no one was suggesting alcohol prohibition should be reinstated. He has also claimed that safe injection sites for IV drug users, a policy that has shown to decrease harm from drug abuse and is endorsed by the AMA and harm reduction advocates, could lead to legalization of heroin. Sabet has joined in opposition to harm reduction policies, including these safe injection sites and needle exchange programs.
Books and writings
- "Directories - Yale University". directory.yale.edu. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "Kevin Sabet - Institution for Social and Policy Studies". isps.yale.edu. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "Faculty » Department of Psychiatry » College of Medicine » University of Florida". Psychiatry.ufl.edu. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
- Dobuzinskis, Alex. "U.S. foes of legal pot focus on risks to the brain". U.S. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- "Kevin Sabet — Reefer Sanity by Kevin Sabet". Reefersanity.net. Archived from the original on August 27, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- "Kevin Sabet is the winner of the 3rd Nils Bejerot Award | World Federation Against Drugs". wfad.se. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- "Smart Approaches to Marijuana- SAM". Smart Approaches to Marijuana. November 23, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- "Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue". Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- Lang, Brent (June 1, 2018). "Sun Valley 2018 Guest List Includes Shari Redstone, Leslie Moonves, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- "Meet the quarterback of the new anti-drug movement". Salon. February 13, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- "Treatment or Jail: Patrick Kennedy Wages Fierce Anti-Pot Crusade". NBC News. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- MIKE DENNISON Gazette State Bureau (September 24, 2010). "Obama drug-policy adviser says the administration opposes marijuana legalization and isn't big on medical marijuana". Billingsgazette.com. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- "Legalization's Biggest Enemies | Politics News". Rolling Stone. January 17, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- "Our Fellows » Drug Policy Institute » College of Medicine » University of Florida". Drugpolicyinstitute.psychiatry.ufl.edu. May 30, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- "Media". Kevin Sabet. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- "Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- "Public Health Officials Warn Against 'Club Drugs'". WebMD. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- "Health Committee Considers Bill C-45 - CPAC". CPAC. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- Committee on Government Reform (June 16, 1999). PROS AND CONS OF DRUG LEGALIZATION, DECRIMINALIZATION, AND HARM REDUCTION. Government Publishing Office.
- "Agenda Item 5. Implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem UNGASS 2016 – CND Blog". cndblog.org. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- "Committee Report No. 6 - HESA (41-2) - House of Commons of Canada". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons — Home Affairs Committee — Drugs: Breaking the Cycle: Written evidence submitted by Kevin A Sabet, DPhil (Oxon) (DP148)". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- Sabet, Kevin. "Written Testimony "Cannabidiol: Barriers to Research and Potential Medical Benefits"" (PDF). judiciary.senate.gov. US Senate Judiciary Committee.
- "Kevin A. Sabet — A Third Way On Drug Laws". Washingtonpost.com. December 4, 2006. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- Sabet, Kevin A. (January 1, 2012). "Drug Policy Needs Centrists". The New York Times.
- "CNN Marijuana Legalization Debate: Ethan Nadelmann vs. Kevin Sabet". Youtube. November 12, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- "Smart Approached to Marijuana — Criminal Justice Reform". Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- Hesse, Josiah M. "The Wrong Way to Legalize Marijuana?". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Homan, Timothy R. (July 10, 2018). "Marijuana politics evolving in red states". TheHill. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- McGreevy, Patrick. "Kennedy group puts $2 million into fight against pot-legalization measures". latimes.com. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "New Jersey state senator fears 'sex toy oils with marijuana' after pot is legal". Washington Examiner. July 20, 2018. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- K, Susan (February 16, 2018). "Legal marijuana foes offer a compromise: Decriminalize it". nj.com. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "Decriminalization bill faces tough road, Sen. Rice keeps up the pressure - Video". njtvonline.org. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "Who We Are". nj-ramp.org. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Reporter, Savannah Eadens, Metro. "Decriminalization may be road to legalization in Illinois". Columbia Chronicle. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "Legalizing marijuana is a 'next year project' for Illinois". WJBC AM 1230. June 23, 2018. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- admin (March 20, 2017). "Smart Approaches to Marijuana- SAM". learnaboutsam.org. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "NH TO BECOME 20TH STATE AFFILIATED WITH SMART APPROACHES TO MARIJUANA (SAM) - New Futures". www.new-futures.org. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Weaver, Dustin (June 22, 2017). "Bid to legalize marijuana in Vermont goes up in smoke". TheHill. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Ring, Wilson (January 10, 2018). "Vermont poised to enact legal pot through Legislature". AP NEWS. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Hoffman, Megan. "Group forms to fight against legalizing marijuana". www.kfyrtv.com. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "Cannabis proponents claim big wins in Michigan, Missouri, the House". NBC News. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "Anti-pot group faces campaign finance violations from its work opposing marijuana legalization in California". latimes.com. April 17, 2017.
- "Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action". ballotpedia.org. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
- "Michigan pot legalization push faces new opposition". Detroit News. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Biolchini, Amy (July 23, 2018). "Former Michigan Senate leader joins anti-marijuana legalization campaign". mlive.com. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Lopez, German (August 20, 2018). "Marijuana has been legalized in 10 states and Washington, DC". Vox. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Roberts, Michael (August 14, 2017). "Meet Kevin Sabet, USA's Most Influential Critic of Marijuana Legalization". Westword. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- "Leading anti-marijuana group got its facts wrong". washingtonpost.com. September 12, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- "Conservative senators who visited Jeff Sessions are sharing anti-cannabis propaganda with their peers". Straight.com. April 11, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- "Kevin Sabet Is Misleading You Again About Marijuana Legalization". huffingtonpost.com. December 6, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- "Project SAM Is Pushing The Lie That Cannabis Kills Vets". huffingtonpost.com.com. September 10, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- "5 Biggest Lies from Anti-Pot Propagandist Kevin Sabet". alternet.org. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- "I'm A Doctor and I Went To College with Kevin Sabet; He's Still Up To No Good". September 8, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- "Veterans for Cannabis Research: Open Letter to Kevin Sabet, SAM". maps.org. April 26, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- "BLACK LEADERS WERE MISLED ABOUT MARIJUANA". drcarlhart.com. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- "Kevin, you need the refresher". September 10, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- "Legalization Foe Claims Medical Marijuana Leads to Fentanyl". October 1, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- "How a Bogus Anti-Weed Stat Seeped into the Mainstream". vice.com. July 1, 2019.
- "How One Pro-Pot Activist Punked an Anti-Pot Crusader by Stealing His Gummy Bears". bostonmagazine.com. October 16, 2016.
- "Prohibition's real lessons for drug policy". LA Times. October 5, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- "AMA Wants New Approaches to Combat Synthetic and Injectable Drugs". American Medical Association. June 12, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- "Med-Sci: Harm Reduction Fits in With Patient-Centered Approach". American Society of Addiction Medicine. April 17, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- "Should cities run clinics to help heroin users shoot up safely?". Washington Post. February 29, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- "Let's Tear Apart This Repugnant Statement About Harm Reduction". Retrieved August 6, 2018.
- "Reefer Sanity : Seven Great Myths About Marijuana". Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana". Oxford University Press. July 2, 2018. Retrieved March 4, 2019 – via Oxford University Press.