Why Do Prohibitionists Think Legalization Ends Adult Responsibility?

One of the many, many readers online following my coverage of Kevin Sabet’s #GummyGate is an acolyte of Sabet’s named Randy Philbrick. He first came to my attention when he was announced as the leader* of the Oregon chapter of Sabet’s Project SAM organization – after marijuana was legalized in Oregon in 2014.

Randy Philbrick's Lame Gummy Meme
“Aha, Russ, I GOT YOU! These AREN’T banned in Colorado! Oooh, you’ve been PWNED!”

Philbrick decided he’d wallow into the viral story of his former boss lying to voters about marijuana gummy bears. He booted up his 486 and exercised his world-class MS-Paint skills and cobbled together a meme he thought was a devastating blow to my Sabet-discrediting.

First, he produced a side-by-side comparison of EdiPure THC-infused gummy bears next to Sour Patch Kids gummy bears that looked identical, but I pointed out that Colorado banned animal pot-gummy shapes. So he re-tooled it to include comparisons of pot-gummy rings to the candy version, since rings aren’t banned in Colorado.

Colorado Marijuana Gummy Bears
Gosh, how will your kids ever distinguish these dull pot gummy lozenges in a childproof opaque container from a bag of brightly-colored bear-shaped gummy candy?

Never mind that both memes are pictures from before Colorado’s rule changes, showing the products in clear packages that are now banned. The point Philbrick is incapable of understanding is that legalization of marijuana doesn’t suspend the responsibility of adults to keep intoxicating, dangerous, and inappropriate adult items out of kids’ reach. We don’t ban products and criminalize their adult customers just because kids might use the products and suffer harm, or else we’d have prohibited alcohol. tobacco, pornography, firearms, and the new “laundry pods” that poisoned kids over 22,000 times nationwide over two years (Colorado’s had maybe a couple hundred kids admitted for eating pot products in the past two years.)

So I took the time to ridicule Philbrick’s meme in a meme of my own, showing numerous adult-version products that would be indistinguishable to a kid if an adult left it lying around unpackaged.

Randy Philbrick's Gummy Conundrum
Kids will never be able to distinguish pot gummies from candy gummies, so keep arresting adults for pot!
Candy Meth vs. Spree
You’re right, Randy. FDA-approved candy-flavored meth for kids as young as 6 doesn’t look like gummy candy. Much more like Spree candy.

But Philbrick is so in the grips of advanced reefer madness that he just couldn’t abandon the failing look-alike argument. I included six different items in my “adult” side that included the new FDA-approved candy meth for kids and a Bacardi Rum cake. Philbrick pounced, slamming the picture of the candy meth, because I mistakenly had a picture of some gummy lozenges when the candy meth is in an orange disc shape, and the rum cake, because alcohol burns off in the cooking process.

Jello Shots
Kids can easily tell that this is an alcohol product and would never accidentally eat one.

I wasn’t deterred, however, as he had nothing to say about the Ex-Lax chocolates, the Xanax, the vodka, and the tetracaine lollipops. I thanked him for helping me fact-check the meme and showed him how the candy meth looks like Spree candy. I followed up with some beer ice cream that he rebutted as also being non-alcoholic, that I then replaced with Jell-O shots.

Like the prohibitionists think legalizing marijuana suddenly invents pot smokers who drive, they think that legalizing adult marijuana products suddenly invents kids who put harmful things in their mouths.

They cook up scary statistics like “hospitals report double the number of marijuana-related visits” without noting that these cases are the tiniest sliver of all the things kids eat that send them to the hospital. It’s like crowing that you’ve doubled your chances in the lotto because you bought a second ticket – it’s mathematically true, but statistically irrelevant. They also omit the salient point that unlike most of the eaten items sending kids to the hospital, the pot gummy bears can’t kill the kid.

Tide Pods
22,000 kids poisoned? So what? Do you remember what a huge pain in the ass it was to measure and pour a liquid detergent?

There’s also the omission of the statistic’s true meaning. We don’t know that more kids have gotten sick eating marijuana products. We only know that there’s been an increase in such visits to the hospital. We don’t know how many kids ate marijuana items before legalization whose parents didn’t take their kid in or lied about why they came in, for fear of arrest and child endangerment charges.

We don’t prohibit laundry pods and jail the adults caught with them just because they poison around 11,000 kids a year. We understand that there are things adults need and like that are dangerous to kids and we exercise adult responsibility in using and securing them. Why is this so hard for Randy Philbrick and other prohibitionists to understand… or why aren’t they out there trying to criminalize the items far more harmful to kids?

It almost makes you think Philbrick’s kind are just prejudiced bigots who hate pot smokers, clinging to any shred of hope that they can scare America away from inevitable legalization of marijuana.


Randy Philbrick's Orlando Tweets
Tweets by Randy Philbrick that got him sacked by Kevin Sabet

* Philbrick is no longer Project SAM Oregon’s leader, though. Back in June, he got himself forced to resign when he embarrassed himself and the SAM organization in a series of tweets with my congressman, Rep. Earl Blumenauer.

Blumenauer had expressed condolences over the horrific mass shooting massacre that took place in Orlando last June. In response, Philbrick cast the congressman as a hypocrite because he supported Oregon’s marijuana legalization. According to Philbrick, legalization is a “threat to public health/public safety” Blumenauer supported, so how can he condemn another such threat like a madman ambushing a gay nightclub and killing or injuring a hundred innocent people?

Yes, really. Adults smoking pot legally in their homes without police harassment is a form of domestic terrorism to prohibitionists like Randy Philbrick. That’s the kind of pretzel logic we have to deal with from our increasingly desperate opposition.

Randy Philbrick's Ouster
If Philbrick’s “legalization = Orlando” tweets were misrepresented out of context, why’d he resign?
Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 191 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Russ Belville Show - The Voice of the Marijuana Nation, a two-hour live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on RadicalRuss.com (learn more on our Podcast page).  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 50 North American cities.