Former White House drug policy advisor joins WSU marijuana debate

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, the Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will host a forum and panel discussion on the proposed legalization of marijuana in Michigan. Kevin Sabet, a former senior advisor to the White House administrations of presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has replaced Scott Greenlee to present opposing arguments. Supporting arguments will be offered by Barton Morris of Michigan's Cannabis Legal Group.

The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act is on the Nov. 6 ballot. The event takes place in the EACPHS auditorium from 2-4 p.m. It is free and open to the public. 

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Kevin Sabet
Kevin Sabet

As senior advisor for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Kevin Sabet co-authored President Obama’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy and is the only drug policy staffer to have served as a political appointee in both Democrat and Republican administrations. The author of "Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana," he has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and in virtually every major media publication and news channel on the subject of drug policy.

Sabet is the director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida and an assistant professor in the UF College of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry. He is president and co-founder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). He is also a policy consultant to numerous domestic and international organizations through his company, the Policy Solutions Lab. His current clients include the United Nations, where he holds a senior advisor position at the Italy-based United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations. He also recently served as the only non-medical doctor on the writing committee establishing the official position on marijuana legalization for the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Barton Morris
Barton Morris

Barton Morris is the principal attorney of the Cannabis Legal Group, a Royal Oak law firm specializing in all marijuana related legal issues including criminal defense, business law, licensing, consulting, land use and real property. He is a council member of the Marijuana Law Section of the Michigan Bar Association and chair of its science committee, and he is the only attorney in Michigan certified by the American Chemical Society as a Forensic Lawyer-Scientist maintaining a focus on marijuana related science. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College and sits on its Alumni Board of Directors.

Morris maintains board positions with the DUI Defense Lawyers Association and the Michigan Association of OWI attorneys. He also is on the faculty of both of those organizations regularly providing presentations and teaching lawyers from all over the country. He has been recognized professionally with several awards including being rated 10/10 by AVVO, and a Super Lawyers Magazine outstanding attorney in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Dbusiness Magazine also named him a Top Attorney in Metro Detroit in 2012 and 2013 and named the Cannabis Legal Group the “Face of Cannabis Law” for 2016.

Additional speakers include EACPHS Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Randy Commissaris, who is researching the impact of marijuana on driving ability, and Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Christine Rabinak, who recently spoke at a Congressional briefing on the use of cannabis products to treat PTSD in veterans.

Attendees will learn:

  • a brief history of marijuana and cannabis use
  • some of the pharmacology/toxicology of marijuana
  • an overview of the current state-wide ballot initiative proposing to legalize and tax recreational marijuana use
  • some of the issues relating to marijuana use and stoned driving
  • arguments supporting the legalization proposal
  • arguments opposed to the legalization proposal

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