Anti-cannabis political organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) was represented on Fox News primetime to expose what they believe to be fake research promoted in greed by the cannabis industry. SAM is a political organization opposed to cannabis legalization and commercialization, specifically pushing for penalties for cannabis use.
Executive Vice President of SAM Luke Niforatos joined Laura Ingraham on The Ingraham Angle to discuss how “Big Cannabis” is funding UCLA, Harvard, and MIT studies on the efficacy of cannabis for medical purposes.
“The mainstreaming of pot has come at the same time the drug has increased exponentially in its potency, its THC levels,” warned Ingraham, linking it to “violent behavior.” Ingraham frequently explores the dangers of pot and blamed “pot psychosis” due to widespread legalization for the rise in mass shooting incidents.
Niforatos then delivered a new mixed bag of reefer madness and hysteria: “Big marijuana is terrified right now, because there are now volumes of research telling us that this new super-charged marijuana that the industry is pumping out is causing psychosis, schizophrenia,” Niforatos said. “We’re seeing addiction rates go up. They’re targeting our kids. All kinds of car crashes on the roads! So all of this is coming out of the research.”
“So what do they do?” Niforatos said, referring to the cannabis industry. “They go to their big brother tobacco, who—by the way is their biggest investor—and they start pumping out fake, bogus research. I’m telling you right now: One of the people that funded the millions of dollars for UCLA’s research on marijuana—that company was called ‘Nugs.’ It’s not run by Sir. Isaac Newton, right?”
Niforatos was referring to an investigative piece by the Los Angeles Times exploring the funding behind cannabis research. Specifically, UCLA researchers were confronted with claims about their lab research being truly independent.
Niforatos went on to describe how the people behind cannabis companies should not be taken seriously.
“These are the canna-bros running these companies, and they’re not trying to advance scientific research, they’re paying for publicity and misinformation, which is exactly what Big Tobacco did, they killed millions of Americans to make a buck, and that’s exactly what marijuana wants to do along with their Big Tobacco investors,” he said.
SAM was founded in reaction to legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who supported medical but not recreational cannabis, as well as former White House drug policy adviser Kevin Sabet, David Frum, and others.
However, SAM has been criticized for cherry-picking negative stats from studies about pot.
But Who’s Behind SAM?
In 2016, Vice explored in detail who exactly is bankrolling SAM’s agenda to fight cannabis legalization. Among the list of donors, they found a casino owner, a former U.S. ambassador, cops, prison guards, alcohol merchants, and a pharma company that sells fentanyl.
A $500,000 donation from Insys Therapeutics matched a donation from Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy for the top donors. Insys is a pharmaceutical company known for selling the painkiller fentanyl in the form of a sublingual spray.
A Washington Post article explored how Insys Therapeutics spent half a million trying to keep pot illegal and “just got DEA approval for synthetic marijuana.” Ironically, a federal jury in 2019 found Insys Therapeutics Founder John Kapoor guilty of running a widespread scheme to bribe doctors nationwide to speak about the company’s fentanyl spray, Subsys.
In 2019, the New York chapter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana was forced to disclose its donors, just ahead of legalization rolling out in the state. The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics denied a request from the organization to keep its donors private.
Dismissing medical studies about cannabis, with the help from SAM, is a slippery slope.