Former Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the head of a national anti-marijuana group called Project SAM, wrongly claimed Colorado ski resorts are giving away free marijuana with lift tickets during an appearance on The Colbert Report Monday.
Host Stephen Colbert seemed shocked at the assertion but didn’t press the point.
A spokesman for Colorado Ski Country USA said Kennedy, whose organization opposes legalization efforts, was “factually incorrect.”
Kennedy was discussing his concern that marijuana, which is legal for adult use in Colorado and Washington, will become corporatized and advertised to “people like me, who are addicts.”
“That’s where their money is,” said Kennedy, who has admitted to abusing prescription medication and alcohol, as well as smoking marijuana in the past. “Their money is with people like me who like to use more than is acceptable.”
When Colbert asked why investors shouldn’t be making a buck on the “stankiest bud possible,” rather than having the market dominated by criminals, Kennedy said he was worried about the advertising.
“That’s the big thing about this new industry, they’re going to advertise,” he said. “So when you get your lift ticket, you get free joints when you go to [Colorado ski resorts].”
“Is that true, is that happening?” Colbert said.
“Yeah, that’s really, no, the ad –” Kennedy began to reply.
“That’s already happening?” Colbert asked again, but Kennedy quickly moved on.
Colorado Ski Country USA public affairs manager Patrick Byrne refuted Kennedy in a statement emailed to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Mr. Kennedy was factually incorrect in asserting that guests at Colorado’s ski resorts can receive free marijuana when they purchase lift tickets,” he wrote. “Here are the facts: Consuming marijuana in public remains prohibited under state law in Colorado, and every square foot of Colorado’s ski resorts is a public place; more than 95 percent of skiable acreage in Colorado is on U.S. National Forest Service land, where possession, distribution, and consumption of marijuana is unlawful; and boarding a chairlift under the influence of marijuana or any other substance is a violation of the Colorado Ski Safety Act.”
Kennedy also said that if marijuana in edible form had been available when he smoked pot, he might not have moved on to harder drugs — which directly contradicts many prohibitionists’ claim that marijuana use can lead to trying more dangerous substances.
“I might have stopped with pot, but then I wouldn’t have finally realized I had a problem,” he said, “because marijuana would have kept me on the slow train to nowhere a lot longer than cocaine or alcohol. … Marijuana, you can smoke it for a long time and still be in denial.”
Kennedy said he stopped smoking marijuana and moved on to different substances because he has asthma.
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