By Ben Adlin
It’s an exchange of Twitter barbs that might be dubbed a “dustup” if 49 people weren’t dead.
In the wake of Sunday’s tragic shooting rampage at a popular gay night club in Orlando, an anti-cannabis group saw an opportunity to score political points. Responding to an Oregon congressman’s tweet expressing his condolences, the group, SAM Oregon, lashed out at the congressman for supporting legal cannabis.
@repblumenauer you can’t support 1 threat to public health/public safety and then condemn another. You have failed this state.
— SAM Oregon (@SAM_Oregon) June 12, 2016
Nothing like the shameless exploitation of a hateful act to win over hearts and minds.
Cannabis advocate Russ Belville caught the exchange and followed it blow-by-blow.
For his part, Rep. Earl Blumenauer shot back at SAM Oregon that the public health threat posed by guns far outweighs any danger posed by cannabis:
@SAM_Oregon Over 32k dead from gun violence each year in US. ZERO dead from marijuana. Your comparison is delusional & shameful.
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) June 12, 2016
SAM Oregon is the state arm of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a national group that, according to its mission statement, “neither legalizes, nor demonizes, marijuana.” (No clear word on how the group feels about making heartless comparisons to mass shootings.) Portlander Randy Philbrick leads the local affiliate, while prohibitionist Kevin Sabet — dubbed by Rolling Stone as legalization’s “biggest enemy” — co-founded the national group.
For a group so apparently concerned with public welfare, SAM Oregon’s boldness was read widely as insensitive and out-of-touch. The tiff quickly drew in other voices from the cannabis community, including Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell as well as lawyer and former Law Enforcement Against Prohibition organizer Shaleen Title.
Make sure you see this embarrassing & shameful prohibitionist tweet before @learnaboutsam eventually forces a delete http://t.co/vgXOBdpJnP
— Tom Angell (@tomangell) June 13, 2016
Um hey @learnaboutsam you might want to rein in your affiliate who’s trolling a US congressman on Orlando. #tonedeaf http://t.co/qCdmnSAwOm
— (((Shaleen Title))) (@shaleentitle) June 13, 2016
Others replied less diplomatically.
@SAM_Oregon @repblumenauer this is some reprehensible shit right here
— Tony Dilansico (@Slopster53) June 13, 2016
How does SAM Oregon feel about the whole thing? Once again, we go to Twitter:
Blowing our statement out of proportion doesn’t mean you’re right. MJ is a threat to public health/public safety whether you like it or not
— SAM Oregon (@SAM_Oregon) June 13, 2016
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