SAM Leader Randy Philbrick Resigned Today
Randy Philbrick resigned today from his post with the anti-cannabis organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).
Philbrick was formerly a leader in the Oregon chapter of SAM.
But he resigned after coming under fire this week for some highly controversial tweets.
The whole thing started when Oregon’s pro-cannabis Congressman Earl Blumenauer tweeted about last weekend’s horrific shooting at an Orlando gay bar.
“Words cannot express my sorrow. Disgusted by this horrible act on the LGBT community & cowardice of those who won’t pass sensible gun laws.”
Shortly after Blumenauer’s tweet, Philbrick tweeted a reply from SAM Oregon’s Twitter account:
“@repblumenauer you can’t support one threat to public health/public safety and then condemn another. You have failed this state.”
Many throughout both the cannabis and the LGBTQ communities quickly called out Philbrick’s tweet.
The tweets were subsequently deleted from SAM Oregon’s account.
On the one hand, Philbrick’s tweet implied that cannabis causes as much harm to society as mass shootings like the one that happened in Orlando.
Such claims, however, are not backed up by science. In fact, researchers have found that it’s essentially impossible to overdose on cannabis.
But even more, troubling is the implicit homophobia of Philbrick’s tweet.
He attempted to draw completely unfounded parallels between the harm inflicted on the LGBTQ community in Orlando last weekend and the supposed social harm caused by marijuana.
In short, Philbrick tried to co-opt the pain and suffering of the LGBTQ community and use it for his political ends.
He attempted to seize what should be a conversation about the violent homophobia that fueled last weekend’s attack and steers it instead toward the entirely unrelated topic of cannabis law.
After his tweet was roundly condemned by many who pointed out the empty anti-pot rhetoric and deep-seated homophobia of his message, Philbrick resigned from SAM Oregon.
He explained his decision today in a message sent to SAM co-founder Kevin Sabet.
“I deeply regret my tweet this week implying any comparison between the horrible Orlando massacre and the issue of marijuana,” he wrote.
“My poor choice of words were construed as something I did not intend. SAM never sanctioned or endorsed my tweet and the opinions it expressed, and I also apologize to SAM for making comments that are not consistent with the mission or values of the organization.”
“Effective immediately, I am stepping down from any role at SAM Oregon.”