Marijuana and drug legalization

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 14, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "FACTOR Follow-up" segment tonight. Nation's most populated state, California, has not legalized marijuana but, really, they have.


If you look in the back of alternative newspapers, there are scores of ads for medical marijuana, some featuring scantily-clad young women promoting all kinds of pot bargains. As we told you early on, this medical marijuana thing, a complete ruse.


Joining us now from Boston, Dr. Kevin Sebet, author of the book, "Reefer Sanity, Seven Great Myths about Marijuana." So, doctor, you worked for President Obama and you advised him, his administration, on drug policy.

So, we have two states that have legalized pot now. Eighteen members of Congress are asking President Obama to remove marijuana from federal government's list of dangerous drugs. Give me an overall assessment of what's happening.

KEVIN SABET, DIRECTOR, SMART APPROACHES TO MARIJUANA: Well, I mean, this small group Congress is really repeating the false and evidence list talking points of a special interest marijuana lobby that, frankly, stands to make millions if --


-- marijuana is fully legal across the United States. I mean, this is a lobby that's taking the pages out of the big tobacco playbook, if you ask me.

O'REILLY: Sure. I mean, there's a lot of money to be made. We're seeing that in Denver right now. But, you know, they all say, "Well, we've got alcohol here. Why not marijuana. It's not dead. It's," you know, "you can function on it." How do you reply to that.

SABET: Well, I mean, look, alcohol is legal for cultural reasons. It's not legal because it's great for your health. Although we do know that marijuana is not as embedded in our culture as alcohol is.


And, frankly, alcohol, and our legal policies on alcohol, tobacco and, frankly, prescription drugs have led to a massive lobby that lives off of addiction for profit.


The question is do we now want to add another list to that list of legal drugs. And the science, I mean, we can't have a debate on the science.

The science is in. Marijuana is addictive. It's about as addictive as alcohol. And, for kids, one out of every six kids who smoke marijuana at age 16 will become addicted. And, you know, has huge implications for IQ, for --

O'REILLY: Listen, I couldn't agree with you more. As a former teacher, high school teacher, I know what it does.

SABET: Right.

O'REILLY: Once a kid starts into any drug, the childhood is over and all of that. Now, in Europe, Portugal, for example, has legalized marijuana. What's happened over there.

SABET: Well, they haven't fully legalized it.


It's actually really -- this was for the use, for the personal use of low level amounts of any drug. Not just marijuana.

Rather than be referred to a criminal system, you're referred to this panel of sort of three social workers that determine if you need treatment or a fine or whatnot. And the issue is, I mean, drug use has increased since that happened in 2001. They have not seen the reductions --


-- in crime that they were hoping for. Frankly, there has been a message that has been sent that, you know, low levels of drug use is OK. All drugs, by the way, not marijuana.

O'REILLY: All right. So, Portugal's use of drugs has risen in the face --

SABET: Oh, yes.

O'REILLY: -- of this decriminalization. In Holland, --

SABET: No doubt about it.

O'REILLY: -- if any has traveled to Amsterdam, they know what that is.


It's a free-fire zone for a lot of drugs, with marijuana, hashish, in particular. It's happened over there.

SABET: Well, marijuana use has tripled among young adults since the time that they really commercialized it like we are now in Colorado and Washington. And, actually, lately, they've been scaling back their policy.

The government actually doesn't like it. It's a public nuisance to have these coffee shops that attract all kinds of tourists, the kind of tourists that they don't want.


So, they're actually closing down coffee shops and finding out that, now, the Netherlands is just about the number one country in Europe that has to demand more marijuana treatment because there are actually more people with problems in the Netherlands than almost any other country in Europe because of this.

O'REILLY: So, what I hear you saying though is if -- as we said in L.A. and in California, it's de facto legalized now with this ridiculous medical marijuana ruse.

So we're going to see at the polls, say, most Americans want a legalized marijuana, at least decriminalize, you say that once that happens, as it has happened in Washington State and Colorado, we're going to see that marijuana addiction and treatment for it rise in a very troubling way. That's your prediction?

SABET: No doubt about it. Look, I don't think anybody wants to throw people in prison for low level amounts of use. That's not what legalization is about though.

It's about creating an industry whose business it is to increase addiction. So, if your business model is you have to increase addiction, then that's going to happen.

And let me tell you. Already, after this first month in Colorado, things aren't going well. Kids are going to the E.R. for ingesting pot cookies and candies and edibles.

Actually, that ad you showed in California, as ridiculous as it was, is almost nothing compared to the ads almost that are in newspapers, not alternative but regular newspapers --

O'REILLY: Regular newspapers. Absolutely.

SABET: -- in Colorado.

O'REILLY: And The Denver Post --

SABET: Yes. I mean, this has been normalized, oh yes.

O'REILLY: -- the Denver Post is promoting it. They have a pot columnist that -- what's good and what's bad. I mean, that newspaper is disgraceful.

SABET: A lot of money to be made. There's a lot of money to be made.

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