With the vast amount of momentum that legal marijuana has, it would have to take big money to slow its progress. Marijuana legalization not only benefits patients and recreational users, it helps to fund entire economies and funds new sectors of innovation. Everywhere marijuana legalization goes, prosperity follows. With all the societal benefit, why would anyone want to prevent its growth? In a word, money. Marijuana progression has only stalled for one reason; big money industries like alcohol and the pharmaceutical companies are fighting it tooth and nail.
The most obvious opponent of marijuana legalization is the alcohol lobby. Statistically speaking, most people who sit down to smoke a joint aren’t rushing to the neighborhood bar to get drunk. Legal marijuana will undoubtedly crush a huge portion of alcohol sales. Back in 2016, WikiLeaks published a series of leaked emails from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America which in no uncertain terms showed that they were seeking to fund any and all initiatives in Congress that restricted marijuana sales and cracked down on driving while high. The alcohol lobby was so powerful that they were able to get the Nevada alcohol wholesalers inserted into the recreational marijuana law as the sole distributors for the first year. The measure is on hold and being challenged in the courts.
Next is the pharmaceutical industry. Instead of working hand in hand with the top cannabis producers and scientists to truly understand this miracle plant and help everyone profit, they seem intent on coming up with synthetic alternatives and stamping out the competition. Pharmaceutical companies kill thousands of people every year with drugs like fentanil and oxycodone. They don’t care about public health, they only care about money, of which they have and endless supply. Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars fighting government health programs and subsidies, and now they have set their focus on defeating marijuana legalization. They had their first victory in Arizona last year, where thanks to their enormous contributions to politicians, the legalization bill was killed.
Many of the corporations fighting marijuana are simply greedy. One industry, however, stands out as not just being greedy, but being pure evil. The private prison complex is the epitome of a decaying moral system. Locking people up for profit is a crime against humanity, yet the industry is completely content to strip people of their freedoms for any reason. The private prison system is not content on locking up prisoners based on our laws. They continually buy politicians who then change the law to funnel more people through their system. After Obama vowed never to use private prisons at the federal level, the new AG did an about face and re-authorized their use. He then vowed to go after marijuana producers, showing that even the highest authorities can be bought and sold.
Despite the large sums of money being thrown around by the anti-marijuana lobby, these forces will ultimately lose in the end. The demand for legal marijuana is growing. Its safety and medicinal benefit are backed by science and research conducted over the last fifty years that confirms everything we hoped about marijuana to be true. When big money comes up against truth and hard facts, eventually the truth always wins.
Cory Hughes is a former police officer turned cannabis cultivator and writer. After years of being on the wrong side of the law, Cory decided to hang up his badge and gun and move into an industry that truly has the potential of bringing people together. He has been an active part of the Colorado cannabis culture and has worked as a horticulturist in dozens of licensed grow operations. Cory now looks to share his knowledge of cultivation and horticulture with the world.