By Kevin Sabet and Patrick Kennedy, Published: May 5, 2015
To the Editor:
We applaud your editorial and Op-Ed essay for highlighting the rise in electronic cigarette use among high school students and for condemning the tobacco industry for aggressively targeting kids.
Unfortunately, the noxious tactics of Big Tobacco — flavored products, colorful packaging, kid-friendly advertising — are not limited to the marketing of e-cigarettes. They also characterize the commercialization of marijuana in states like Colorado, where pot has been legalized. Attempts to ban edible marijuana products that target youth, such as “Pot Tarts” or “Pot Lollipops,” have been met with fierce opposition from a burgeoning marijuana industry eager to hook kids early, and ensure a steady stream of future profits.
As we condemn the harms of e-cigarettes and their marketing to youth, we should also acknowledge that the legalization and mass commercialization of marijuana means yet another industry that thrives on addiction and recklessly targets the most vulnerable in society. We can reform our drug laws and address the currents pitfalls of prohibition without giving rise to the next Big Tobacco.
PATRICK J. KENNEDY
KEVIN A. SABET
The writers, a former congressman and a former White House drug policy adviser, respectively, are leaders of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.