The Fight Against Legal Cannabis Is About Big Money Interests


Cannabis opponents try very hard to make it seem like keeping cannabis prohibition in place is good for society for health reasons. They claim that legalization will result in increased consumption by youth, that it will cause mayhem on public roadways, and it will lead to increased drug use of harder drugs. Never mind the fact that since Colorado has legalized cannabis, youth consumption has decreased and traffic fatalities are at an all time low.

Successful entrepreneur Ben Cohen calls out the big money behind prohibition.
Successful entrepreneur Ben Cohen calls out the big money behind prohibition.

Prohibitionists even claim that ending cannabis prohibition is only about making people rich and ushering in a “Big Marijuana” industry. However, most of the people fighting to end cannabis prohibition are fighting for civil liberties and social justice issues. Not to mention the fact that the cannabis industry is much more likely to follow the microbrewery industry than Big Pharma or Big Tobacco. Ben Cohen co-founder of Ben And Jerry’s Ice Cream, effectively argues that many big money interests are fighting cannabis legalization due to their own financial interests. Per US News & World Report:

The crusaders against weed constitute a long list of suspiciously self-interested folks. Lobbyists work hard to secure for police departments millions of dollars in federal grants towards eradicating weed. Pharmaceutical companies compensate leading anti-marijuana researchers in order to keep their customers on painkillers over cannabis, which is cheaper. The prison-industrial complex would like to keep making money on building more prisons to fill with non-violent grass-smokers.

The alcohol and beer industries have also lobbied for years to keep marijuana illegal because they fear the competition that legalized weed would bring. Howard Wooldridge, an anti-drug war activist and retired cop told the online publication Republic Report: “Marijuana and alcohol compete right today as a product to take the edge off the day at six o’clock.”

Cannabis prohibition has failed in every measurable way. There is simply no logical reason to keep such a failed public policy in place. Doing so harms society, and helps keep cartels in business. It’s time that every state and every country took a new approach to cannabis policy. It’s time to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis so that the emerging cannabis industry can help generate revenues for governments, to free up law enforcement resources so that they can be dedicated to fighting real crime, and to bring much needed jobs to areas that desperately need them.

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.