The Shmooze

High Times With Mason Tvert

By Anne Cohen

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For the first time ever, more Americans are in favor of the legalization of marijuana than not, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

You know that trip you’ve been planning to Colorado for, ahem, recreational purposes? Well, you’ve got one main man to thank for it.

Activist Mason Tvert is no new convert to the cause. Tvert’s marijuana consciousness emerged while in college, when he was, as he sees it, mysteriously subpoenaed in an investigation on marijuana use, as someone suspected of using the drug.

After studying political science and journalism at the University of Richmond, he moved to Colorado, where he cofounded SAFER (Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation), an organization that seeks to educate the public about the benefits of marijuana over alcohol, in 2005. Before becoming the communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, the largest organization in the country working exclusively to end marijuana prohibition, Tvert co-directed the successful Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana-use by adults.

The Forward called up this nice Jewish boy from Scottsdale, Arizona, to ask him what he thinks about the new poll, pot, and those who still oppose it.

Anne Cohen: So, why are you in favor of the legalization of marijuana?

Mason Tvert: Marijuana prohibition has been an abysmal failure, just as alcohol prohibition was a failed policy, and it’s time for a more sensible approach to marijuana policy. Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it is far less harmful than alcohol. It’s just irrational to punish adults who are making a choice to use the less harmful substance.

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