Legalization has profit motivePublished 3:54pm Monday, May 20, 2013
By SUSAN SHORT
There is evidence that big tobacco may be getting ready to benefit from marijuana legalization. The tobacco industry has stated, “The use of marijuana has important implications for the tobacco industry in terms of an alternative product line. We have the land to grow it, the machines to roll it and package it, the distribution to market it.”
In fact, some firms have registered trademarks which are taken directly from marijuana street jargon. These trade names are used currently on little-known legal products but could be switched if and when marijuana is legalized. That’s the message the tobacco industry is pushing with legalized marijuana. The tobacco market is also boasting that the marijuana market might be as high as $10 billion annually for their industry. Phillip Morris recently bought a couple of domain names with their parent company name, Altria. They bought Altriacannabis.com and Altriamarijuana.com. Most people in the United States do not know this.
The medical marijuana issue is definitely linked to legalization, and has been since 1978. Keith Strove, the head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that they were trying to get marijuana reclassified medically. If successful, they would use that to give marijuana a good name, and then legalization of marijuana would be their next goal.
Legalization varies from making marijuana cigarettes as available as tobacco cigarettes verses “strict regulations on sales.” Some people are requesting to have regulated marijuana. In other words, they want to sell marijuana in the stores, keeping it off the streets, and as they put it, making it harder for kids to get pot through drug dealers. Remember, most kids don’t get marijuana from drug dealers. They get it from their friends, and their friends have it because it’s normalized, and it’s available. That is the case right here in Covington County.
Having strict regulations on sales as the way to prevent kids from getting marijuana is extremely unlikely to work. Consider the current situation we have with alcohol and tobacco. Kids are getting these products even when they’re under age. We know that trying to prevent kids from getting products like these doesn’t really work. Kids can still get alcohol and tobacco anytime they choose, and marijuana would be the same.
Legalization is a multi-billion dollar movement and is connected to the medical marijuana movement. Actually, the medical marijuana movement started 20 years ago, and it’s very clear from past reports that those requesting medical marijuana were doing so to give marijuana a good name. Their second step is to pursue full legalization. That method has been used in every state with medical marijuana legalization in terms of using that methodology to better focus on the next step, which is legalization.
All Americans should take this issue seriously. Know the facts about the dangers of marijuana and what the proponents of this measure are falsely presenting to the public.
Sources: The Whitehouse website,whitehouse.gov/omdcp/marijuanainfo and Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., at www.kevinsabet.com.
Susan Short is the director of the Children’s Policy Council of Covington County.