With all of the mean despicable things being said on the campaign trail, all of the spiteful allegations back and forth, the insurrectionists still flaunting their guns and all of the election deniers denying the peoples’ will, I’d like to take today’s discussion to a higher level. The act of legalizing recreational marijuana is underway in Missouri. Missouri, slab dab in the middle of all of those red states that want to take us back to the 1850s. Missouri is the 21st to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Somewhere in well-tended mausoleums, Messrs. Anheuser and Busch are spinning in their quiet repose. The millions spent on lobbyists to keep alcohol as the only legal over the counter sedative is going the way of the dodo bird. While more and more states make inroads in the legalization process whether by allowing “medical marijuana” or outright legalization let’s talk about those groups financially opposed to legalization.
1. Drug Companies – The drug industry spent 145 million on lobbying in 2015. No, not all of it was on marijuana suppression, but it was certainly a topic. How can you sell pain relief when it can be grown in a window box? Currently, California’s marijuana industry is worth about $5.3 billion dollars. New York’s first year of legalization was 2021 and estimates were that the revenue would be 1.1 billion. That’s a lot of Soma not being sold by the drug companies.
2. Police Unions – In addition to the billions received from the federal government in the form of grants for pursuing drug enforcement, many police jurisdictions enjoy the possibility of asset forfeiture when they make a drug bust. As long as marijuana is listed by the DEA as a schedule 1 drug, police departments will benefit from their pursuit of even casual users.
3. Private Prisons – The topic of private prisons has been covered before and there is no question that private prisons lobby on behalf of establishing as stringent laws as possible to protect their bottom line. “Heads” in the beds is their business model and reducing the number of incarceration offenses effects their profits.
4. Prison Guard Unions – For the same reasons as the private prisons, prison guards are self- interested in keeping the prisons full. The California Correctional Peace Officers association gave one million dollars to help defeat Proposition 5 which would have “reduce[d] the parole terms of nonviolent [drug] offenders.” It’s easy to see that Cheech & Chong would be easier to deal with than Charlie Manson.
5. Alcohol Companies – The American Alcohol industry has spent over 237 million in lobbying over the last two election cycles. We can assume that the money wasn’t all spent on dropping the legal age to 14. The alcohol industry’s self-interest is totally aligned with opposing legalization of marijuana for recreational use. From this study, “Compared to all other states that did not legalize recreational cannabis, Colorado households showed a 13% average monthly decrease in purchases of all alcoholic products combined. That fact seems to suggest that the alcohol industry is right to fear the legalization of the devil’s weed.
The CDC lists the following long-term effects of alcohol use:
High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.
Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.
Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick.
Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.
Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
Social problems, including family problems, job-related problems, and unemployment.
Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence
I guess you could say the stakes couldn’t get any higher.