Smart Approaches to Marijuana

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Smart Approaches to Marijuana
Smart Approaches to Marijuana logo.jpeg
FormationJanuary 1, 2013; 7 years ago (2013-01-01)
FoundersPatrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet[1]
Type501(c)(3) nonprofit[2]
HeadquartersAlexandria, Va.[2]
President and CEO
Kevin Sabet, PhD [1]
Chief of Staff & Sr. Policy Advisor
Luke Niforatos
Vice President of Federal Affairs
Garth Van Meter
Key people
David Frum
AffiliationsSAM Action, a 501(c)(4)[2]

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM, Inc.) is a non-profit organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, opposed to marijuana legalization and commercialization. SAM describes itself as a bi-partisan partnership that works with local, state, and federal legislators to create policies that decrease marijuana use.[3] SAM advocates for civil penalties for marijuana use, along with mandated treatment, and supports maintaining misdemeanor and felony charges for production and distribution.[4]

History and background[edit]

SAM was founded in 2013, by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), former White House drug policy adviser Kevin Sabet, senior editor of The Atlantic David Frum and a group of Colorado-based health professionals in response to the successful 2012 marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington.[citation needed]

Its mission is to educate citizens on the science of marijuana use and marijuana commercialization,[5] the importance of science-based drug policy, and research into the potential medical use of compounds derived from marijuana.

The group seeks to support the following four priorities:[6]

  • Prevent Big Marijuana. SAM endeavors to prevent the formation of Big Marijuana, a potential commercial marijuana industry. SAM also seeks to prevent Big Tobacco from expanding its influence into Big Marijuana.
  • Educate. SAM works to inform the public and policymakers about what the group considers to be "the science of today's marijuana."
  • Reduce consequences. SAM aspires to open a dialogue about reducing civil and criminal penalties for marijuana offenders.
  • Medical research. SAM aims to encourage medical marijuana research and promote the development of FDA-approved marijuana medications.

In 2013, the organization was endorsed by former president Jimmy Carter, who stated "I'm very proud of Patrick Kennedy and his Project SAM, Smart Approaches to Marijuana". "I wish him and Kevin Sabet every success in your independent project to make sure marijuana is handled responsibly."[7]


Criminal penalties for use[edit]

SAM supports removing criminal penalties for use, advocating instead for treatment.[5]

Medicinal marijuana products[edit]

Project SAM supports study of components of marijuana.[1] The organization supports FDA-approved, pharmacy-based cannabis medications.[citation needed]


SAM says it is mostly funded by small donors, and by grants.[1] Sabet has stated none of the organization's funding comes from corporations or opiate manufacturers.[8] At least one donor, Julie Schauer, gave $1,364,000 to SAM Action in 2016.[9]

Campaign finance violation[edit]

In April 2017, the California Fair Political Practices Commission proposed $6,000 in fines against SAM Action, for failing "to timely and accurately disclose contributions received." However, the FPPC said: "There is no evidence the respondents intended to conceal the...contributions...The Committee proactively sought advice and filed accurate semi-annual and pre-election campaign statements two months before the election, so the public had notice of the Committee's activity before voting."[9]

Media and activism[edit]

SAM Action, Inc. is the 501(c)(4) sister organization of SAM.

State and local chapters[edit]

SAM has affiliated organizations in 26 states that work to support its mission at the state level. In addition to its network of state affiliates, SAM has partnered with Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy,[10] the California Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies,[11] Mainers for Healthy Youth, the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts,[12] and Nevadans for Responsible Drug Policy.

International branches[edit]

  • Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada (SAMC)[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Michael Roberts (14 August 2017). "Meet Kevin Sabet, USA's Most Influential Critic of Marijuana Legalization". Westword. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Biography". 10 July 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  3. ^ SAM (4 January 2018). "Who We Are". SAM. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Smart Approached to Marijuana - Criminal Justice Reform". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b German Lopez (24 March 2016). "Meet the man trying to halt marijuana legalization". Vox. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b Talbot Partnership (4 December 2013). "Marijuana Abuse Prevention". Talbot Spy. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  7. ^ Justin Green (17 May 2013). "Jimmy Carter Endorses SAM, Opposes Marijuana Legalization". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  8. ^ Keegan Hamilton (26 October 2016). "Here's who's bankrolling the fight against legal marijuana". Vice News. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ "The Billboard Battle: Anti-Marijuana Group Wants Pro-Pot Signage Gone". Phoenix New Times. 31 October 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Who Is With Us?". CALM USA. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  12. ^ a b C. Eugene Emery Jr. (30 March 2014). "Marijuana legalization opponent Heidi Heilman says today's marijuana is 300 percent to 800 percent stronger than in the past". PolitiFact. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Is Big Pharma Out to Stop—Or Take Over—Marijuana Legalization?". Vice. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  14. ^ Paul Elias and David Crary (28 September 2016). "9 states to vote soon on expanding legal access to marijuana". Athens Banner Herald. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Hundreds Of Vets Receive Pot Free Of Charge At Special Event". CBS Denver. 20 September 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) goes to Hawaii". The Garden Island. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  17. ^ Kristin Buehner (11 October 2013). "Speaker cites dangers of youth and marijuana use". Globe Gazette. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Marijuana Abuse Prevention". Kansas Prevention Collaborative. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  19. ^ Kevin Miller (2 March 2015). "Bill to ban local votes on legalizing marijuana draws fire at hearing". Press Herald. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  20. ^ Joe Gallagher (30 January 2013). "NH TO BECOME 20TH STATE AFFILIATED WITH SMART APPROACHES TO MARIJUANA (SAM)". New Futures. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  21. ^ Carl Wellstone (6 November 2015). "SAM Oregon Uses Ben Carson to Support Marijuana Prohibition". Marijuana Politics. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Nancy DeNuccio: Ocean State Prevention Alliance". Ocean State Prevention Alliance. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Northwest Tribes Oppose Pot Legalization". KNKX. Associated Press. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  24. ^ Travis Lupick (17 June 2015). "Anti-pot group Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada looks at legal challenges". Georgia Straight. Retrieved 4 January 2018.