Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who has spent the last five years railing against marijuana legalization, made headlines again earlier this week when he claimed that marijuana is a “Trojan horse” and warning that cannabis consumption is a “hazard to public health.”
In a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo News, Kennedy, the son of iconic Sen. Ted Kennedy, once again expressed his fear that the legalization of marijuana will lead to “permanently disabled” youth:
“What I worry about is marijuana sapping the motivation and cognition of our young people. So, they might not end up on a slab because they OD’d on fentanyl, because they were originally addicted to OxyContin, but their lives may end up becoming permanently disabled. Essentially, they’re missing in action. They’re not killed in action. They’re missing in action.”
This is not the first time, Kennedy, who has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction, has railed against marijuana. Since 2013, he has been involved with Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-marijuana organization led by Kevin Sabet. Last year, Kennedy and Project Sam helped raise more than $2 million to fight various statewide marijuana legalization initiatives.
In 2006, Kennedy infamously crashed his car into a barricade in Washington, D.C.. He eventually made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of prescription drugs.
But it is marijuana — not alcohol or pharmaceutical drugs — that has become Kennedy’s cause. In the Yahoo interview, Kennedy insisted that those that push for recreational legalization are selling the public on a “Trojan horse” by making the herb appear mainstream. According to Kennedy:
“The public health doesn’t stand a chance in this fight, because we’re up against money that is going to continue to grow as this industry spreads.”
When asked about the nation’s alcohol abuse problem and the undeniable fact that booze is more addictive and has far more fatal consequences than marijuana, Kennedy opined:
“I don’t disagree with that. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Alcohol’s already legal, and there’s no putting that horse back in the barn. Let’s stop this horse from getting out of the barn. It’s a question of, what floor do they drop you from — the 10th floor or the fourth floor? You’re still in trouble.”
In Rhode Island, and a large swath of the northeast U.S., opioid overdoses have become a major health epidemic. At the same time, states in that region have begun to relax their marijuana laws. But for Kennedy, it is marijuana that is the big problem.
“If Mr. Kennedy is truly concerned about public health and safety, I cannot fathom why he would prefer that adults use alcohol instead of making the safer choice of marijuana,” said Mason Tvert, a pro-cannabis advocate who was a driving force in Colorado’s legalization effort.