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Big Marijuana: The Necessary Evil of Federal Legalization

A pot leaf stands in the foreground of an image of a large grow operation, which will change the future of the marijuana industry.
Photo by Paul Evans

Joint Opinions

Big Marijuana: The Necessary Evil of Federal Legalization

If the United States expects to escape the clutches of prohibition, there is no escaping the advent of Big Marijuana — that monster has already been given life. While some cannabis advocates are working to develop progressive ideas they hope to implement as an alternative business model to the hairy hands of big beasts, sadly, their efforts might never see the light of day.

Not unlike America’s old friends, alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco, once marijuana rises up from the ashes and is commercialized on a national level, it will do so under a cult of its own demons, where it will continue to thrive off an underbelly so despicable that it’ll send pot purists into a rabid fit of nightmarish proportions. To avoid this is an impossibility, yet absolutely necessary.

Although it’s not conceivable for this country to formulate a national marijuana market without encompassing evil, stomach-churning big business philosophies, it’s interesting that the anti-pot crusade has chosen to use this particular peril of capitalism as an argument for why America should disregard its dream of sustaining a legal cannabis commerce altogether.

The most recent response to the idea of Big Marijuana comes from an article written by Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), entitled “If you think Big Tobacco was bad, wait till you get a whiff of Big Marijuana.” The piece, published in a Sunday edition of the Dallas News, suggests that the unforeseen product of nationwide marijuana legalization will be a continued platform focused on luring minorities and the poor into the throes of addiction – all for the sake of fat cat swindlers.

In the face of Big Marijuana, “pot legalization is no longer about a few friends calmly sharing a joint on the weekend in their own living room. Inevitably — and ever so swiftly — it has become about big business and big bucks,” wrote Sabet. “Like Big Tobacco, the large-scale commercialization of marijuana will require consistently high use rates and increasing addiction rates to keep shareholders and investors happy.”

While the point Sabet attempts to make is rooted in some truth, his belief in a legal marijuana market being fueled by mostly pot addicts isn’t an accurate prediction. There’s not enough evidence to suggest that marijuana addiction is real, much less a viable concern for public health. The inception of a nationwide cannabis industry, while it will likely resemble alcohol and tobacco, will undoubtedly sustain itself based on its recreational allure – similar to beer.

Marijuana is simply too different of a substance to be classified under the same vile threat as a product containing the highly-addictive nicotine and embalming fluid.

It would be naïve to think that Big Marijuana will not subliminally coax the youth of America into experimentation before they are legally old enough to purchase it. Yet, unless the industry dictates that cannabis producers introduce addictive properties into their products, the idea of building an economic foundation based on addiction will never work. Again, when prohibition is repealed, once and for all, and a federally regulated industry is established, the marketing masterminds of marijuana will be more successful under a brewing template rather than anything related to Big Tobacco.

Sabet, who is revered as one of legal marijuana’s harshest opposing forces, is hell bent on comparing the future outcome of corporate cannabis to the tobacco industry, yet he agrees that legal marijuana products are less of a detriment to society than tobacco. However, the problem Sabet has with marijuana is unlike tobacco, it gets the user high, which he believes will serve as a stepping stone to the further degradation of modern society.

It’s for this reason that Big Marijuana will likely be structured more in the image of the alcohol industry, which is exactly what most cannabis advocacy groups are working towards. This is because although the tobacco companies may have the ability to use nicotine’s 32 percent risk for dependence to continue peddling cigarettes to dying lung cancer patients, the marijuana industry won’t have the same opportunity – because weed is not even as addictive as alcohol.

While it’s true that no proponent of legal marijuana wants to consider the corruption that will undoubtedly blanket the industry with the commencement of federal legalization, this dark side is simply a necessary evil that serves in the interest of the greater good. Although recreational weed will appear to lose some of its integrity in the beginning, it will resurrect with wings of green and become a veritable economic salvation for the United States, the downfall of the black market marijuana trade, the path to fewer imprisonments and the push law enforcement needs to finally focus on catching the real criminals.

Do you think the rise of Big Marijuana is coming? Tell us what you think in the comments.



  1. Reverend Ryan

    October 3, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Sabet and his ilk are simply protecting the fruits of prohibition. It is THIS that is a cancer upon our civilization. I view it a an extension of the war for oil agenda. SAM is against the fact that cannabis consumers aren’t so down with war, corruption, violations of rights… you know. The Agenda. Besides, have to protect all those budgets that the taxpayers fund to hunt down their kids for smoking cannabis.

  2. Rich Gange

    October 2, 2014 at 3:58 am

    Theres no known fact to man that marijuanna causes any helth problems, whatsoever. Its already proven that leagalizing it reduces overall cosumption.tobacco causes cancer, among other health probablems. Alcohol causes numerous health problems. The only reason the government wont leagalize it, is because thet think someone might make a buck off it, without without the feds being able to get their greedy hands on it to tax it! They have no problem with pharmapseudicals. I know more pill addicts that havr fucked up their lives, than any other drug addicts, but thats all good. They make bank taxing that shit. We even fought a war so we could leagalize opiots! The government is the crookedist organization in the world! They could give a fuck less about our healh! As long as they get their cut! A member of the Mexican maphia used to tell me(the Mexican government, theMexican Maphia, and the United states government are all one organization! U think about it? U used to be able to purchase mexican brick weed anywhere in this country. As much as u wanted, but yet we couldnt get away with transporting it from state to state. Now we have grade a weed. Which put a damper on mexican sales. So we basically ban eppedrine, so meth cant be produced in the U.S., but for some reason the Mexicans are able to manufacturr millions of pounds of it, and they have no problem ditributing it any where in the U.S.A. you tell me if thats coincidental? The U.S. government allows whatever makes them the most money to take place. Their the crookedest mother fuckers in the World and they cansuck my dick!!! By the way this is only my opinion, which im entitled to! Under the freedom of speech act; i could be wrong. U figure it out. Dont be affraid to speak your oppinion!! You have the right to. They haven’t been able to rob us of that yet! Ive done my research!!!

  3. Tony Aroma

    October 1, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I never cease to be amazed at how this stuff is new to so many people. Prohibitionists act like legalization is essentially introducing a new drug to society, when in reality it’s always been here. Same with “big marijuana.” As long as marijuana has been illegal, we’ve had “big marijuana.” We’ve just called it by different names, like organized crime or cartels. Big marijuana is nothing new, however REGULATED big marijuana IS something completely different. So please stop talking about big marijuana as if it’s some radical new idea.

  4. Bryan Holbern

    September 29, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Kevin Sabat increasingly sounds like Chicken Little. OK pot gets you high (Duh), so does alcohol And all of the painkillers which is the largest prescription drug of abuse. Pot is actually a much better painkiller not because it masks the pain but because it allows one to focus upon and control the pain turning it into a life experience rather than a burden. Why worry about comparisons with Big Tobacco unless they take clean cannabis and adulterate it with chemicals which no cannabis user will tolerate. Sabat and his ilk should keep their traps shut until they’ve sat down with Willie or Tommy and partook of the good stuff and then see what kind of attitude emerges.

  5. Cassandra Rowe

    September 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    When will they get the idea that marijuana is NOT the problem? Alcohol causes HEAPS more problems. Even cigarettes do. What would someone have to do nowadays to get their hands on a packet of smokes if they had no money? It drives me crazy how dope smokers are seen as complete bludgers, but alcoholics have their own organization (AA) to help them, that makes it somehow alright to be an alcoholic. I bet dope smokers wont need a MA (MARIJUANA ANONYMOUS).

  6. bollox

    September 28, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Well it shoudnt of been outlawed in the first place. The authorities just dont like ppl enjoying themselves for free. Im surprised sex isnt taxed. If they could they would

  7. Paul Pot

    September 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

    You’re talking about fascism.
    And legalizing cannabis is just the first step in ending the police state and taking our sovereignty.
    There will be a lot of work to do but we have no choice.
    If we do not address this ultimate corruption first there is no way we can address anything else from human rights to climate change.
    Even the longest journey begins with a single step.

  8. will

    September 28, 2014 at 7:15 am

    I think what will happen big bucks will be made but there will be groups of love children free thinkers and organic pot lovers will set up small businesses who sappy the need for friendly ganja so like anything there will always be someone small time who gets by making a better quality friendly product like a farm shop

  9. Andrea Lomascola

    September 28, 2014 at 4:58 am

    So very true, this IS happening and needs to be discussed and prepared for, unlike the text of California’s original Prop. 215 which was rushed, poorly written and not fully prepared for, which has helped get us to this point. I’m just thankful that I am able to provide myself with my own, despite my county’s attempts at taking that right away…first we can’t grow outside…then we can’t grow inside either…wth? Why are they trying to force us to take our business (and tax dollars) to Oakland or L.A.? We are in the fertile San Joaquin Valley for Pete’s sake and most everyone I know with a recommendation has the ability and desire to grow OR knows someone that can help them so they aren’t having to purchase anything on a regular basis. Sick to death though of the stories about the cartels…they need to GIT!! I’d much rather have legitimate businesses providing what the cartel’s customers are buying…but we need intelligent, HONEST discussions about what we’re to do here and if Big Marijuana wants to help then I say more power to ’em. We’re also permitted to make our own beer and wine but most still buy theirs, right?

  10. Noslen

    September 28, 2014 at 2:36 am

    “(…)marijuana is unlike tobacco, it gets the user high, which he believes will serve as a stepping stone to the further degradation of modern society.”
    if by degradation they mean more jobs less war more brain usage to further problems … come on… bring some peanuts ahahah and a modern society who doesnt want to use marijuana to studies and improve world health is it modern ?!oO

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