Top Anti-Legalization Funder Says Marijuana Causes Terrorism

Prohibitionists just revealed that a retired professor is bankrolling their efforts to defeat marijuana legalization ballot measures this year to the tune of more than $1.3 million.

SAM Action, the advocacy arm of the nonprofit Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said in campaign finance documents filed Friday in both California and Massachusetts that Julie Schauer, a former art teacher at Northern Virginia Community College, has given the group at least $1,389,000 this year.

A Marijuana.com investigation reveals that Schauer has a history of making alarmist claims about marijuana.

Among the more provocative things she’s posted on the Internet over the years are suggestions that cannabis use causes violence:

Whatever alcohol and tobacco can do, marijuana was the drug of choice of the Tsarnaev brothers, the recent Santa Barbara shooter (note his video, “Smoke Pot Everyday,” James Holmes, Jared Loughner.

To be clear, a major donor to the U.S.’s leading anti-legalization organization believes that the Boston Marathon bombing, the Aurora movie theater shooting and the attack on former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, among other atrocities, can be at least partially blamed on marijuana.

She also believes that the legalization movement is a “cult”:

Unlike the POT LOBBY, the alcohol lobby is not funded by a cult. The pot people are a religious cult, who worship their weed as if it is a “god” They sound 100% convinced that marijuana is the ONE AND ONLY GOD. A few alcoholics may talk that way but nothing like the POT COMMUNITY! If they only realized how ridiculous and funny they sound to attribute so many magic powers to this weed!

Schauer has repeatedly taken to online discussion forums to espouse her belief that alcohol and tobacco are safer than marijuana:

Cigarettes don’t cause psychological damage, marijuana does and it also causes more heart damage and more lung damage than cigarettes. Many people have personally admitted to me that they have become psychotic from marijuana.

And:

Traditional cigarettes have health risks, but marijuana has health risks plus the risk of psychological problems and later anxiety/mood disorders. Although some drinkers who quit to have lingering depression or anxiety, I haven’t observed that in those who quit smoking plain old tobacco. (I am not advocating for tobacco, but believe it’s less risky than marijuana. It also seems that a lot of people only have a glass of wine or beer to compliment their food, rather than to get high.

In an extended Twitter discussion with a Marijuana.com reporter over the weekend, Schauer not only repeated claims that marijuana causes violence, but seemed to deny the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests in the U.S. every year.

She also claimed that she feared a drug policy reform activist she had a discussion with in 2009 was going to physically assault her:

Elsewhere, Schauer accused marijuana legalization activists of being obsessed with conspiracy theories:

The pro-pot keeps claiming it is only good and had no adverse side effects. They think a conspiracy is out to get them. Drinkers and tobacco smokers don’t think that way. Why are pot people like that. One figure from history who smoked pot, Baudelaire, said that it contributed to a highly subjected view of reality. Is that these people are paranoid and delusional.

And:

Jack Herar believed in conspiracy theories and promoted a debunked theory that marijuana was outlawed nationally by a conspiracy between Hearst and DuPont and others.

But in the very same discussion thread she postulated a few conspiracy theories of her own:

The marijuana lobby is all about control and money. It was started by George Soros. Just read The Weed Blog and you’ll see, the marijuana lobby is all about power and money and the chance for big profits. Yet the people who write it know the profits will be concentrated in very few of the growers.

She claimed that the legalization movement’s use of social media to spread its message has the effect of encouraging children to use marijuana:

What is most disturbing to me is that multimillion dollar pot lobby is targeting very young people and trying to manipulate them. When the pot lobby uses social networking to convince teens that pot should be legal, it may be indirect, but they are advocating for children to use pot. Cigarettes are less damaging than marijuana, because they cause physical damage while marijuana causes both physical and psychological damage—well documented. In my informal polling of young people who’ve used marijuana, 1 in 5 are very badly affected by it, either panic attacks, depression or they get hooked. There is not a way to know who will be badly affected.

In a PowerPoint presentation posted online, Schauer included women’s rights groups and Prevent Child Abuse America among a list of “enemies” in prohibitionists’ fight to strip child custody from parents who use cannabis, including for medical purposes.

The new contributions from Schauer, who previously donated $50,000 to help defeat a 2010 attempt to end marijuana prohibition in California, make her the biggest anti-legalization funder so far this election cycle.

In 2014, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson gave more than $5 million to defeat a medical cannabis measure on Florida’s ballot. Adelson has not yet reported any contributions to anti-legalization efforts in 2016, but rumors have circulated that he may support efforts to sink Florida’s follow-up medical marijuana effort this year or to defeat the legalization measure on the ballot in Nevada, where he owns the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. SAM president Kevin Sabet told a reporter earlier this year that the group is actively courting his support.

Schauer also recently donated to support the failed presidential campaign of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), one of only a handful of candidates in a large field who had pledged to enforce federal marijuana laws even in states with legalization. And she separately supported Leadership Matters for America, Christie’s political action committee.

Meanwhile, the pro-legalization campaign in California has already filed a complaint with state officials alleging that SAM failed to report Schauer’s donations on time.

In entries on RateMyProfessors.com, multiple students accused Schauer of being a lazy and unorganized professor who was consistently late to class (even though she presumably does not use marijuana). For example:

Stay far away from this class! She shows up 15 minutes late every class, she’s unorganized, she doesn’t care about her students, and she gives test on concepts she never taught in class. Never have I been so turned away from art and never have I been so disgusted with a professor. Overall I had a horrible experience.

Another student accused her of obsessively talking about her art blog in class.

SAM has stated that defeating legalization in Nevada is one of its priorities this year, but it is not yet known if Schauer gave the group separate contributions for efforts there. The next campaign finance report filing deadline in that state is October 18.

SAM did not respond to a request for comment about whether the organization agrees with Schauer’s theories about marijuana causing violence.

Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett.

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