By Chris Stigall

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chris Stigall talked with Kevin Sabet, the author of Reefer Sanity about the recent push to legalize marijuana. Sabet is a former Senior Advisor the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and now is the Director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida.

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Sabet, who opposes the legalization of marijuana, believes society made poor decisions regarding alcohol and tobacco and thinks changing marijuana policy would be making the wrong choice again.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right. We can’t go back in time for alcohol. It’s here to stay. No one is saying we should really prohibit it anymore and that’s fine, but now that we have this in our hands to control, it’s sort of like with tobacco a hundred years ago, when big tobacco started and we legitimized cigarettes in the military and we legitimized cigarettes in the media. We, sort of, have a chance with a new drug to go down that path again. Do we want to make that same mistake again? It’s in our hands. With alcohol and tobacco, that ship has sailed, but with pot, it’s in our hands.”

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To support his stance, he stated that marijuana is far more detrimental than tobacco products.

“Marijuana has 50 to 70 percent more carcinogens than tobacco, according to the American Lung Association. It affects you, in terms of your brain, especially the developing adolescent brain in a way that tobacco does not. I’m not saying kids should smoke cigarettes or cigars, but let’s be very clear, it does not alter their brain in that their learning and memory and IQ and attention span, all of those things are greatly affected by marijuana use. They’re not affected by tobacco use. It’s just ironic…that we’re pushing against smoking so hard, and yet with marijuana, we’re ready to give it a free pass.”

Sabet also said that he supports any safe medicinal uses marijuana may have, but that recreational use should remain illegal.

“We know that there are components in marijuana that could be helpful and there are anecdotes and very well meaning parents that are saying, ‘look, we don’t know why this is working, but this compound is working,’ and that’s a non-psycho active compound, it doesn’t get you high. It’s called CVD and it’s within the marijuana plant and different people are trying to extract the CVD. I think parents should be able to get access to whatever might help their kid. I just want to do it in a safe way.”

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