A group opposing the legalization of marijuana on Thursday warned Atlantans not to believe the hype that pot is made from a harmless plant and that its impact is minimal.
Kevin Sabet, co-founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana or SAM, said the growing marijuana industry is pitching weed as a natural, safer alternative to tobacco without the long-term health problems.
“You know what, poison ivy is a natural plant, but I wouldn’t suggest anybody mess with it,” Sabet said. “These arguments are ridiculous if you think about them for more than one or two seconds.”
The group is at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in downtown Atlanta today as part of a the bigger National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit being held at the hotel. The Rx summit is focusing on the country’s increasing opioid crisis.
The marijuana organization’s appearance comes on April 20, also known by some pot connoisseurs as “420 Day.” 420 is a slang for marijuana.
It also comes as the Atlanta City Council is considering eliminating jail time for possessing an ounce or less of the drug. Currently those caught with the drug can serve as much as six months.
The legislation, which would also have reduced the fine for possessing an ounce or less from up to $1,000 to up to $75, was sent back to the safety committee for further review Monday after several councilmembers raised concerns.