More than a decade has passed since Washington voters legalized recreational cannabis. Since then, 23 states have done the same, along with entire countries like our neighbors to the north in Canada.
Despite the cascade of legalization washing over the western world, old mindsets that resemble the propaganda film Reefer Madness still exist when it comes to cannabis.
Just this past week, Kevin Sabet, the former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy adviser for Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, went on Fox News to deride the current state of affairs when it comes to cannabis.
"Marijuana is the most misunderstood drug in our country today," Sabet told Fox News host and former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy on Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy.
Sabet also co-founded the Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions this year. But despite his resume, Sabet appears to be the one who most misunderstands cannabis.
Sabet opened his argument by conflating the nation's mental health crisis with cannabis legalization.
"There's a massive increase in mental illness as a result of this increase of marijuana use," Sabet said. "We know that today's marijuana can quintuple your risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, which is the worst thing you can imagine, it increases about six times the risk of suicide."
While there are genuine concerns about cannabis and mental health, especially when considering the ever-increasing potency of legal cannabis, Sabet's appearance on Fox was nothing more than a fearmongering distraction.
"You can't walk down the streets of so many of our major cities without smelling it everywhere," Sabet claims.
That's clearly not true, but More Americans than ever favor legalization. Recent Gallup polls have shown that 68 percent of Americans favor recreational cannabis legalization.
"They really just want to smoke weed and legitimize their own lifestyle, and the reality is we're paying a huge, huge price for this," Sabet claims, when asked about those in favor of legalization.
Speaking of costs, Washington state brought in over $500 million in cannabis tax revenue over the last fiscal year. ♦