Last updated on: 12/31/2017 | Author:

Patrick J. Kennedy Biography

Co-Founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and Former US Representative (D-RI)
Con to the question "Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal?"

“[W]e should also recognize legalization for what it is: the large-scale commercialization and marketing of an addictive — and therefore highly profitable—substance…

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, fatal crashes in Washington state involving drivers who had recently used marijuana more than doubled after legalization. Colorado has seen similar increases. In states that have legalized, youth marijuana use now exceeds the national average, the black market continues to thrive and employers struggle with more drug-impaired workers than before pot was legalized.

More heavy users of marijuana are reporting to drug treatment, and there have been more school infractions among kids caught with pot. Worse still, the only statistically representative national survey on marijuana use found last year that Colorado is the No. 1 state for youth marijuana use in the country.

Without action, the marijuana industry is poised to become the next Big Tobacco — a profit-hungry special-interest group looking after profits, not public health. We need to acknowledge that marijuana comes with its own set of health risks, including a strong link to psychosis and schizophrenia, memory loss and low academic achievement.”

Cowritten with Kevin Sabet, “Don’t Let Big Marijuana Prioritize Profits over Public Safety,”, Mar. 8, 2017

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Board Member, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
  • Board Member, Best Buddies
  • Board Member, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute
  • Board Member, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
  • Member, President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, 2017
  • Founder, the Kennedy Forum, 2013
  • Co-Founder, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), 2013
  • Co-Founder, One Mind, 2010
  • Former US House Representative (D-RI), 1995-2010
  • BS, Providence College
  • Twitter handle: @PJK4brainhealth
  • Sponsored the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which was signed into law in 2008
  • In 2006, Kennedy crashed his car while driving intoxicated. He issued a statement admitting that he suffered from bipolar depression as well as addiction to alcohol and opiates.
  • Son of former Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy and nephew of the 35th US President, John F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Born in Brighton, MA, on July 14, 1967
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal?