Pot Prohibitionist Kevin Sabet Violates Massachusetts Drug Law


Yesterday in Boston, TV station WGBH assembled a panel to conduct an in-depth discussion about marijuana legalization, specifically, the ballot question Massachusetts voters will answer this coming November. The good people of the Commonwealth will have the chance to determine whether or not marijuana should be available for recreational use and subsequently regulated like alcohol.

According to BallotPedia:

Question 4 would legalize and create a commission to regulate marijuana in Massachusetts. Currently, marijuana is only permitted for medicinal purposes. Under the new law, Individuals at least 21 years old would be able to use it, grow it, and possess it. The measure stipulates that individuals could possess under ten ounces of marijuana inside their homes and under one ounce in public. They could also grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes.

The measure would create a regulatory structure called the Cannabis Control Commission. This body would oversee marijuana legalization and issue licenses to firms that seek to sell marijuana products.

Under the measure, retail marijuana would be subject to the state sales tax with an additional 3.75 percent excise tax. If it chooses, a local municipality could add another 2 percent tax. Revenue from excise taxes, license application fees, and fines for minor violations of this law would be placed in a Marijuana Regulation Fund, which would help to pay for administrative costs of the new law.

If approved, marijuana legalization would take effect on December 15, 2016.

First reported by Russ from WeedNews.co, the WGBH forum, called “The Citizen’s Choice: Legalizing Recreational Marijuana,” featured prominent speakers from both sides of the argument who were there to create a healthy dialogue about a tremendously important issue. However, one panelist decided to take things up a notch with a live demonstration.

Kevin Sabet, the co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and a staunch supporter of continued prohibition, really wanted to hit home with his ‘what about the kids’ talking points by performing a brief show and tell. Sabet, who has held positions on three separate Presidential administrations, proceeded to pull two rather large, clear plastic bags out of his suit jacket pocket. He told the attending audience and fellow panel members that one bag contained regular candy, while the other held something far more dangerous inside — one ounce of THC-infused edibles. He tasked the audience with deciphering which bag held the laced candies before implying that they wouldn’t be able to, and children couldn’t either. Sabet seems to ignore the fact that edibles purchased from lawfully-operated shops wouldn’t be sent home with unlabeled, non-descript packaging. Sabet’s incessant assertions that parents cannot prevent their children from ingesting marijuana edibles is absurd, considering millions of parents successfully keep their young children out of their liquor cabinet, gun closet, and driver’s seat.

The other panelists seemed taken aback by the impromptu display, especially considering the biggest proponent of harsh marijuana laws in the room was claiming to have one ounce of a Schedule 1 narcotic. According to a report from Dr. Keith Saunders of Boston Pot Report, sometime in the aftermath of the demonstration, Sabet lost track of his (half) precious cargo. Saunders witnessed Sabet frantically searching for the bags before claiming, “Someone stole the edibles.”

After warning the nation for years about the dangers of marijuana products being left out for curious children, Sabet had suddenly found himself in a heaping pile of his own potent medicine.

After scouring the internet for clues, we finally tracked down the location of the candy in question. An anonymous forum attendee snatched the newly-orphaned bags of candy from the table Sabet left them on and promptly turned them over to someone who could do some good with the evidence, Dr. Saunders.

When Sabet brought his (alleged) bag of marijuana edibles out into public view for the world to see, he made a critical error in judgment. Whether or not the candy in the bag was actually infused with cannabis matters very little, because Sabet broke the law regardless.

We caught up with Dr. Keith Saunders while he was bringing the now-infamous gummy bears to a testing facility in Massachusetts for a final determination on the gummy bears’ content. Luckily for us, Dr. Saunders also happened to be in the car with the WGBH panelist sitting directly next to Sabet during his charade, Madeline Martinez. Martinez has been a longtime advocate for marijuana through her work with NORML Oregon and opened the United States’ first cannabis cafe in 2009.

Marijuana.com: What did you think of Kevin Sabet’s presentation yesterday?

Madeline Martinez: I was a bit overwhelmed by his presentation, quite frankly. I’ve never been in a situation with someone that was so dogmatic, to the point where he was sweating profusely. I just didn’t expect that from him. I expected to be on a panel with a calm person and, he was anything but calm. All of a sudden, he brings out these bags and says, “one of these two is medicated. One is an edible, but you can’t tell the difference. This is what is being sold. This is why children are in danger.” He told us that was, in fact, true. He handed them to me. I was sitting there and he was just like, “here.” I just said, “whoa.”

Dr. Keith Saunders: In Massachusetts, that’s distribution.

Martinez: He put them in my hands. Obviously, I’m an Oregon resident, so I didn’t know what to do or expect. I was wondering if I was going to be handcuffed. It was very odd, I’ve never been in that situation.

Marijuana.com: Do you think Sabet intended to create this much of a scene?

Saunders: He was trying to pull off some showmanship. If he was telling the truth, one of those bags contains over an ounce of THC-laden product, which is above the decriminalization limit in Massachusetts. He either had to procure them elsewhere and bring them into Massachusetts in violation of federal law, or he had to procure them illegally in Massachusetts. While we do have legal edibles for patients, he is not a Massachusetts resident to my knowledge. Either he did that, or he offered a counterfeit substance, which itself is a crime in Massachusetts. He committed a crime, one way or another. He thought he was being a smart ass and showing off, but in reality, he was committing a crime. He should be punished for what he wanted people to be strewn up for his entire career as the drug czar’s Mini Me.

Martinez: At the very least, his credibility is in question now.

Saunders: (Laughs) In question now?

Martinez: I know it has been in question, but yesterday was like a joke. He came off like a snake oil salesman standing there talking his game. It’s amazing to me; I was very stunned by it.

Marijuana.com: To give Sabet a taste of his own medicine, do you think this is the one time we should throw the book at a marijuana offender?

Saunders: No, I don’t think anybody should go to jail or be arrested for marijuana possession. I think what he did was irresponsible and not well thought out. He was arrogant in the way he flaunted the law like he was above it. In all of the years that I have spent advocating for marijuana law reform, and I have spent well over a decade of my life, the only time that I have made it a point to publicly display that I was possessing cannabis was to demonstrate to the voters of Massachusetts what the effect of their decriminalization law was. I committed civil disobedience and defied the decriminalization measure by possessing marijuana, though I actually had to ask the Boston Police officer to cite me. We are a very cannabis-friendly state and he came in here and made an ass of himself.

Martinez: He really did. I agree with Keith in that we would never prosecute him, but the idea that he would break the law using something that he stands up against was quite amazing.

Marijuana.com: What happened after Sabet’s demonstration, and where are the bags of candy now?

Saunders: The video is available from WGBH TV. After pulling the bags from his pocket and telling the crowd one contained THC, he put them down. After making another point about them, he handed both of the bags to Madeline Martinez. After he got them back from her, he sat them down on the table. Later, after the panel, an anonymous person provided those bags to me, and I have them in my possession. They are on their way to a testing lab in Massachusetts to be tested for THC. I am not going to hold them, I am turning over the entire sample. We do have video and camera evidence of what we have. They’re his bags, they’re the ones he showed on TV. I’m not going to hold them as evidence against him, as I don’t think he should be arrested for marijuana possession, but I do think he’s a stupid ass for doing it.

Marijuana.com: Would Sabet show the same mercy to someone in his shoes?

Saunders: My ethics are my ethics, his ethics are his. I don’t expect to hold him to the standards of my ethics. He can be whoever he wants to be in his life. The principle of it is important enough to me that I don’t want him to go to jail, even though he wouldn’t want the same for me.

Martinez: We want an end to prohibition and to stop people from going to jail for marijuana, shattering American lives.

The Massachusetts counterfeit drug law Dr. Saunders is referring to reads as follows:

Any person who knowingly or intentionally creates, distributes, dispenses or possesses with intent to distribute or dispense a counterfeit substance shall be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than one year or by a fine of not less than two hundred and fifty nor more than two thousand and five hundred dollars, or both such fine and imprisonment.

Cover Image Courtesy of WGBH

About Author

Used to write about music for XXL, Elevator, Complex, Genius, and a few other outlets. Follow @LongLiveTheDuke on Twitter if you'd like to read way fewer words by me.


    • Looking at the counterfeit law, I disagree that there is evidence that he intended to distribute “…intent to distribute or dispense a counterfeit substance …” Although it is arguable that he did, in that he handed the bags to Madeline Martinez. His attorney might argue that it was not Sabet’s intention for her or anyone else to keep the bags. Yet, he acted irresponsibly for the purpose of drama, did possess illegally, and did represent for the purposes of deception if that was not genuine THC infused candies. I do think he was an ass in behavior and intent to deny others something they should legally be able to access, but some people are drama queens and use any method they can to influence others.

  1. Give him a taste of his own medicine.
    Through the book at him.
    Probation , mandatory narcotics anonymous meetings and the maximum community service hours at the local landfill.

    • YEP!! Throw the book at him because he wants the book thrown at all the patients that need it. How idiotic was that? Even if they weren’t infused, he handed them to someone whom believed they were thc infused and that is distribution and intent to deceive if they were not infused. This guy has no real experience with the plant that helps millions.

  2. What I clearly see is Saunders grabbing the edibles off the table and then rushing them over to Martinez, who then puts them in an what appears to be an orange colored bag, and then she quickly walks out.

    • Yes Saunders is as much a liar as Sabet. Hilarious. Folks in marijuana reform should be aware Keith Saunders is not known forhis honesty. He’s on par with Kevin Sabet in terms of truthfulness. Still a funny prank. Too bad Keith doesn’t have the brains or balls to be honest especially as Fox25 has the video of him taking them and anybody who knows him? Knows that was him in that video.

  3. Recreational marijuana is for all states its healthy and clean. It be good for society. Alcohol & tobacco already destroyed many Young youths of America already it’s legalized. So many squared minds people I. America is destroying this great country. Put the double edge sword down allowed it be legally for all above the age of 18 years old. And older. Cannabis never hurt anyone so why keep fighting it.

  4. Using the very laws that we want to abolish AGAINST ANYONE is a step backward. Throwing the book at this guy with our community glorifying it would look like the petty retaliation marijuana opposers expect. Win this fight the right way and change minds in the long run.

  5. Squared headed people step down from political views and stop destroying our freedom. You all know cannabis will not destroy America. Its the squared head minds will destroy America. Double edge sword of thinking already cause many problems in america. Recreational cannabis would be the best thing for people of America.

  6. Did they get the results yet? I’m appalled at how irresponsible these people are. So many people’s lives could be better, and they would endure less suffering, if cannabis were just flat-out legal. Take the money you’re currently spending on catching and prosecuting people for marijuana “crimes” and spend it on educating people on how to use it responsibly and to it’s best effect. You’ll spend less and have better results.

  7. The law is the law. The guy was in possession of infused Cannabis candy. The cops need to arrest the guy and the DA needs to prosecute him.

  8. Kevin Sabet does need to experience some of the evils of prohibition. Yes he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the laws that he has broken and then some he has helped to destroy lives all over the country and world with his nonsense support for prohibition. He deserves to be punished and have his credentials taken away. He needs to go to jail over a plant like millions of americans have. Nothing that can be legally done is harsh enough to compensate a tenth of the people that have suffered because of this glory seeker.

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