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Ethan Nadelman And Kevin Sabet Debate Legalizing Marijuana On CNN


Ethan Nadelmann is the Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the most influential and effective marijuana reform organization in America. Kevin Sabet is the face of the anti-marijuana movement, which of course is far from effective and doesn’t really influence anyone, which is why we never really see anyone else on the ‘con’ side of the marijuana debate. Both men recently appeared on CNN to debate the merits (or the alleged lack thereof in Kevin’s case) of marijuana legalization. Below is video footage of the debate:


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Johnny Green


  1. Vern La Vernon on

    that cnn corp maliciousness was designed to infotain and staged precisely to discredit the herb.

    ethan, not our ideal posterboy, is well informed, tireless and still enthusiastic after years of leaning into the sh!tstorm.

    hey e howz about a mustachio and open collar image upgrade?


  2. Last weeks Gallup Poll election results when broken down by political view, clearly shows a HUGE disparity (30+%points) between liberal and conservative voter’s on legalization votes . Just because you prefer to remain apolitical on this subject doesn’t mean others must too.Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

  3. Republicans are kinda like cops — it’s hard to like any of them when you’ve never met one that was nice to you. :)

  4. Did he? Seems to me that neither of them came out looking that great. But also, the CNN interviewer didn’t have control of the segment.

  5. Yes, Big Pharma would be eviscerated if cannabis was not under the constraints imposed by prohibition. NIDA has been sponsoring studies for over forty years to find the supposed harms of cannabis and has come up with nothing more than innuendos of harm based on flawed studies.

    Yet, in spite of the power of the government arrayed against it the true nature of the cannabis plant is being revealed through the healing experienced by millions. And some of the most profound and dramatic experiences are those of very young children with intractable (to pharma drugs) illnesses/conditions like Dravets and cancer.

    Chemo kills and cannabis heals: check out the facebook pages of “Hope for Landon” and “Brave Mykayla,” for two of a growing number of children that are being healed by cannabis and saved from the ravages of chemotherapy and other Big Pharma toxins (drugs).

  6. Perhaps it’s not such a stretch to suggest that the pro-recreational cannabis debate/movement was spawned in some Prohib’s bowels;anything to take the focus off of cannabis healing properties.Could BigPharma be capable of this? I say: yes,very possibly.

  7. Excellent and rational account of the debate.
    In a setting that’s reviewable for both verbal and visual performance such as this one, it’s always a better option to err on the side of being too cordial than coming across as a radical mouthpiece with no regard for anyone else or their opinion.
    And yes, I fully agree that Sabet is a closed minded, calculating jerk with regard to legalization, but he does know how to play the media game, and he won this match.

  8. Heck, with those kinds of restraints in place there would never be another political debate because they routinely fail to answer the actual question they were asked.

  9. Here’s a newsflash; democrats aren’t 100% pro legalization either.
    Continuing to alienate anyone is a foolish waste of initiative, so using the energy to educate them is a potentially more viable option.

  10. And that is another problem. It’s like there is some kind of Poll Flu that happens during midterms, and it only affects democrats. This flu has been around for years, and I’ve noticed it since just before I was old enough to vote.

  11. Sabet is a slime ball, working against good people trying to do what’s right for our kids and community. The majority of people see through his shit.

  12. I bet ole kevin doesn’t complain about the 7 billion dollars of “Dark” money that was poured into the republican coffers during the last election. After MJ is legal in every state kevin will fade out of the limelight forever.

  13. All is cool. yes your right or if a few more voters took the time out to vote. Midterms elections frequently just don’t get a lot of the voters out to vote. I was just saying too no hate intended.

  14. The problem is that Sabet, like most paid political shills, never agrees to something like this unless he has a contract stipulating that the questions the host is to ask are pre-approved by him in advance of the appearance. That’s why the host never asked the question “What are some of the potential benefits of legalization?” CNN probably would have been sued had the host improvised *anything* at all.

    Kevin Sabet was shameless enough to use sock-puppet accounts on his Reddit AMA to feed himself softball questions. He also forced the Huffington Post to disable comments on his articles. Everything Sabet does publicly is manipulated in some way to ensure he doesn’t have to engage anyone on equal footing. I guarantee, everything about this CNN appearance from who got the first question right down to who was sitting closer to the camera was contractually agreed to before Sabet walked onto the soundstage.

    This wasn’t a debate, it was a rigged shouting match. Were it an actual debate with timed speeches, structured arguments, where you had to give evidence and sources, Sabet never would have agreed to it. He can’t win on a fair playing field and he knows it, which is why he avoids them.

  15. Nadelmann could have been more civil. However, considering how limited the timeframe was, if he didn’t interrupt I doubt he’d have gotten a word in. Watch his TED Talk to see what he sounds like when not having to deal with Sabet, though really he could have given better reasoning and evidence in that as well.

    Sabet also interrupted him quite a bit. The difference is that each of Nadelmann’s interruptions were to correct the blatant lies that Sabet was telling (way less support, cannabis edibles only just existing) while Sabet interjected straw man arguments.

    The news anchor seemed to realize that Sabet was full of it also.

  16. I agree. Nadelmann may be bright and right, but he looks bad when he won’t STF up when someone else is speaking. That may work in front of a pro-legalization group, but not in this scenario. I want a better composed, better mannered spokesperson. While trying to look at this video objectively, Nadelmann’s ranting make Sabet seem like the sane one. He is a better speaker in this scenario, and that is too bad for us.

  17. Just saying if 3% less people listened to his shit, you’d have legal MMJ. There will always be people that believe his rantings.

  18. Is there anyone on the pro marijuana side that could debate Kevin Sabet? Its always a total disaster.

  19. Nadelmann discredits the movement when he doesn’t allow Sabet to speak. We all know Sabet is full of s**t so let him hang himself. This is the problem with some of the people in this movement..if you want this to go mainstream than you’ve got to play by the rules and be an adult about it.

  20. I highly doubt Sabet has any respect for anyone who is for legalizing Marijuana. If it were a woman she better be Just as willing to actively interject as Nadelmann, or Sabet will walk away with all the talking time.

  21. And just a thought for the DPA… Nothing against Mr. Nadelmann, but how about putting a woman up against Mr. Sabet? Maybe Mr. Sabet would show a woman a little more respect?

  22. Hard to follow a debate when people talk over each other. Of course, with Kevin Sabet talking, it’s hard to get a word in edgewise.

    Also, it must be hard for Mr. Sabet to defend his position on legalization when he has no problem with folks growing and smoking their own in the privacy of their own home. But… how would anyone be able to do that without legalization?

    And if people are allowed to grow and consume cannabis in their own homes, then they would also make their own extracts and edibles — including brownies and gummy bears. Usually, homemade products don’t come with content labels.

    There was a short article on a local news website recently about the danger of people making their own BHO extracts, even though there hasn’t been a report of any explosions in New Mexico (like in Colorado). (More chicken little fear-mongering.) So, if Mr. Sabet had his way, we would take the making of extracts and edibles out of the hands of “big business” and put it in the hands of home growers? Where do testing labs fit into this scenario?

    Mr. Sabet’s vision doesn’t work. But then, I guess he already knows that.

  23. Florida requires a 60% vote to change the states constitution. The vote was 57.% for and 43% against in any other state that’s would have been a landside victory. Kevin Sabet and his supporters hide behind the numbers which in reality supports their losing ground fast. They called Alaska 3% victory a slim win and their 3% win a huge victory. Simple looking at the numbers doesn’t support the case. Makes me wonder what he’s been smoking to believe that. Even with a stacked deck they almost lost.

  24. The City of Nyssa Oregon used City funds to pay for the Kevin Sabet for the Ontario Oregon “educational “tour. CITY FUNDS!!! to pay for Sabet. Was this not an illegal expenditure of City funds to advance an anti-cannabis political rally? Please ask Russ Belville to look into this Nyssa City funding, like he has done in Clatsop County….

  25. “Kevin Sabet is the face of the anti-marijuana movement, which of course
    is far from effective and doesn’t really influence anyone” Not true, unfortunately, as is evident in the loss of MMJ in FL.

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