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Wayland Resident Joins Former Congressman to Launch Marijuana Education Initiatiive

Heidi Heilman and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy last week announced the launch of a Massachusetts affiliate of Project SAM.

Project SAM organizers hope that they can move conversations about marijuana beyond "incarceration versus legalization” discussions and "instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug."

And the conversations are happening now in Massachusetts.

Last week, Wayland resident Heidi Heilman and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy jointly announced the launch of the Massachusetts chapter of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) during a ceremony at the Boston State House.

According to a press release, Project SAM is already active in a few states and came to Massachusetts as a project of the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance (MAPA).

"We are thrilled to launch Project SAM," said Heidi Heilman, coordinator of SAM Massachusetts and president of MAPA."This is not about demonizing or legalizing marijuana, but rather educating the public about the most misunderstood drug in the country and the industry promoting it."

Project SAM has four key goals, according to the press release:

Project SAM, has four main goals:

  • To inform public policy with the science of today’s marijuana.
  • To prevent the establishment of “Big Marijuana” — and a 21st-Century tobacco-like industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana’s medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non- psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
  • To have an adult conversation about reducing the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.

Kennedy said in the press release that Massachusetts has some of the highest rates of teen marijuana use in the country.

“And fewer kids in Massachusetts think smoking marijuana is harmful compared to the past," Kennedy said. "I have seen first-hand the debilitating effects of marijuana addiction. It’s more than just the addict. Families suffer and taxpayers cover the cost of the fallout."

Heliman added that Project SAM supports legislation that provides "compassionate and safe access [to marijuana] for profoundly ill people" as Massachusetts voters indicated they wanted last November. 

Jillian Galloway June 05, 2013 at 04:00 PM
What is their opposition to legalizing marijuana like beer and wine? Marijuana is significantly milder, safer and less addictive than alcohol and we could prevent a lot of the harm that alcohol causes by giving people the right to choose marijuana instead of alcohol. So why do they oppose this? Why do they feel the need to arrest hundreds of thousands of people every year for choosing a far safer alternative to alcohol? I don't trust these people because they are *not* using science to base their policies.
rationalhuman June 05, 2013 at 05:08 PM
I wonder why the press release doesn't mention that Project SAM was co-founded by former Federal Drug Czar consultant and prohibitionist, Kevin Sabet, PhD? I wonder why it doesn't mention that Heidi Heilman is Director of the Federally-funded Wayland CARES, which the Town now has a special panel investigating to detemine its value and effectiveness, as well as past practices? No mention, either, of Project SAM Board Member Dr. Roger Thurstone's recent statement that, "It is reasonable now to question how much longer it will be before we see injection use of THC -- especially as marijuana is legalized." No mention of Heidi Heilman's repeated testimonies in favor of practically eliminating medical cannabis in the Commonwealth, despite her statements taht she supports compassionate and safe access. Project SAM is just the latest attempt by the old-guard prohibitionists to wrap their failed message in new drag, this time at poor Patrick Kennedy's expense.
Dave Bostwick June 05, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Of course Heidi Heilman know more than doctors,, right?? New York Doctors Say Bloomberg’s Statement on Medical Marijuana is Outrageous & Flies In the Face of Medical Science New York --(ENEWSPF)--May 31, 2013. Mayor Bloomberg ran afoul of medical science and the opinions of more than 600 New York physicians when he called medical marijuana “one the great hoaxes of all time” earlier today. The statement comes just one day after NY Physicians for Compassionate Care held a press conference announcing the support of more than 600 physicians from across New York for medical marijuana legislation pending in Albany. http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/43648-new-york-doctors-say-bloomberg-s-statement-on-medical-marijuana-is-outrageous-flies-in-the-face-of-medical-science.html?fb_action_ids=10201428295658127&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582
JSnr June 05, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Congratulations, Heidi. Like Mayor Bloomberg said last week, "medical marijuana is one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated on the American people." The down-side health stats are looking awful! Speak truth to big money and Big Marijuana!!!!!
Marie Perry June 05, 2013 at 08:44 PM
I actually think Project SAM is a good idea. Marijuana should be regulated through the FDA and distributed by a pharmacy by medical professionals.
JSnr June 05, 2013 at 08:46 PM
President Obama, on May 3, 2013, said "NO to legalization. NO to incarceration. YES to education, prevention and treatment". 21st Century Marijuana is doing damage -- and the Pot Profiteers are getting rich!! Tax free!! We taxpayers get to pick up the health care costs of their customers. Get the FDA approves necessary for REAL medical formulations. Get WEED OFF THE STREETS and OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS.
JSnr June 05, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Spoken like a true pot profiteer. The most recently, and valid, studies, show pot has little efficacy and great harm. But we know the legalizer's formula now. Lower perception of risk. Increase availability. Market to young people. Score LifeTime Customers. Right out of the playbook of Big Tobacco. (We read the memos) It took 50 years to begin to clean up that public health mess. How long will it take to clean up after Big Marijuana?
Dave Bostwick June 05, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Why not just treat it like red bull or monster drinks? More kids are going to the hospital for those substances??? I mean, you want to "save the children", right?? Diet Soda Damages Teeth as Badly as Smoking Crack: Study http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/Health-News/diet-soda-tooth-decay-methamphetamine-crack-cocaine/2013/05/24/id/506280?s=al&promo_code=139EF-1
wilson paul June 10, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Why does JSnr sound like the government claims about pot from 1960s ? Carnival barking, reminiscent of Wayland Cares goals, just as empty and deceptive. Just think what kids think about harder drugs when they find out the government and schools lied to them about pot... "Pot profiteers" ? Sounds like something REAL profiteers from Pharmaceutical industry would say. Yellow journalism , anyone ?
Dave Bostwick June 10, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Yes,, let's "Save The Children"! Diet Soda Damages Teeth as Badly as Smoking Crack: Study Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/Health-News/diet-soda-tooth-decay-methamphetamine-crack-cocaine/2013/05/24/id/506280?s=al&promo_code=139EF-1#ixzz2Vr33UKTm Alert: What Is Your Risk for a Heart Attack? Find Out Now
Dave Bostwick June 10, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Yeah,, Trust the FDA and DEA,,, http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/07/18829371-fda-finds-fungus-bacteria-in-recalled-pain-shots?lite
wilson paul June 11, 2013 at 03:03 AM
Dave, are you ok ?
Dave Bostwick June 11, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I'm fine,,, I just lose my mind when all these people are saying "Save The Children" when, if regulated would be a non issue. In a country where it's OK to get an abortion, and I am pro-choice, why can't I smoke a joint? I mean, it's my body, it should be my choice, right???

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