Reefer Madness
Marijuana Business News

‘Big Marijuana’ Does Not Scare Me, ‘Big Marijuana’ Done The Wrong Way Scares Me

Reefer MadnessThe term ‘big marijuana’ is thrown around a lot these days. Kevin Sabet uses that term to try to scare voters. Longtime marijuana veterans often use the term to describe what they don’t want the growing marijuana industry to become because it will push out the little guy. People often offer up the tobacco industry and Wal-Mart, and other large industries and companies, as reasons why big marijuana should be avoided at all costs.

I certainly don’t want to see the ‘Wal-Mart of weed’ becoming a reality. And I absolutely don’t want to see the tobacco industry supported by marijuana consumers, considering how horrible they have been with their business practices throughout the years. No company in the marijuana industry should be supported if they put profit in front of people’s health like the tobacco industry, or treat their employees like crap like Wal-Mart. With that being said, just because something is bigger doesn’t mean that it’s bad.

The example that I always offer up is the company Dr. Bronner’s. Dr. Bronner’s is a very large company, selling their products all over the world. Their business practices are excellent, and anyone that I have ever talked to that is tied to the company sounds like they are loving life in every way. The company does so many things to help the world that it’s almost impossible to list all of them, and the product that they sell is very earth conscience. It’s the only soap I use, and as someone who has sensitive skin, I can say first hand that their products are the best I’ve ever tried.

As I said in the title of this article, ‘big marijuana’ in itself does not scare me. ‘Big marijuana’ done the wrong way absolutely scares me. The marijuana industry has a chance to be different than any other industry out there. The marijuana industry can (and already is in a lot of ways) treat all people fairly, regardless of their gender, age, race, etc.. The marijuana industry can give back to the world in a very meaningful way. Successful marijuana companies can change minds that wouldn’t otherwise be changed, and bring a level of legitimacy to the marijuana movement that non-business pursuits can’t. It’s not the way I would want it, since I fight because it’s the right thing to do and not for money, but it is what it is for a lot of people that don’t care about their heartstrings being tugged.

Marijuana entrepreneurs can practice social entrepreneurship, using their business success to give back to their local communities and worthwhile causes. Just like Dr. Bronner’s, these companies can reap the benefits of industry and commerce, and use that success to do amazing things to help the world. That is what I have always envisioned for this blog if/when it ever goes to the next level and becomes a strong business. Of course, if it doesn’t, I’ll still be here doing what I can to spread awareness and the message of activism, but I have always daydreamed about doing more if we ever obtained the resources to do it. You have to get it to give it as they say.

Again, ‘big marijuana’ in itself is not a bad thing. It all just depends on they type of ‘big marijuana’ that happens. If marijuana companies put profit above all else, than they are not better than any other big business that is hurting this country by not paying livable wages, getting around tax liabilities in anyway they can, and dragging down the local economy, all the while putting the hardworking little business owner out on the street. That would be very, very sad. However, if the opposite happened, and ‘big marijuana’ followed in the footsteps of companies like Dr. Bronner’s, truly amazing things could happen.

What do TWB readers think? Do you think that ‘big marijuana’ is always bad, no matter what, period? Or do you think that it’s possible to be a ‘big marijuana’ company and still maintain the core values that the marijuana reform community has always stood for? I look forward to reading your comments.

  • Jon Alan

    I have been studying the evolution of the agenda of the “Big” megalithic cartels like tobacco and medicalpharmaceuticalinsrance, manufacturing and retail. I respectfully have to disagree and say that the “Big” cartels are a curse on the hard honest working people who are being starved by these monsters. You said it so beautifully in your piece, “If marijuana companies put profit above all else, than they are not better than any other big business that is hurting this country by not paying livable wages, getting around tax liabilities in anyway they can, and dragging down the local economy, all the while putting the hardworking little business owner out on the street.”
    There is no way that Big Marijuana will not be corrupted by the agenda of these greedy monsters and their minions. I believe that to keep the Marijuana industry from becoming “Big” there needs to be an industry comprised of independent wholesalers and clinicsshops. Any move towards “Big Marijuana” will destroy the quality and diversity of the Marijuana products. I am comparing the failed proprietary NY State MMJ law with such states such as Vermont and California. Medical Marijuana seems to have devoloped in this independent way. The rise of the retail legalized Marijuana industry concerns me greatly for the very reasons you so eloquently stated in the above quote. We must fight the easy money and control the wealthy “Big” cartels can offer to move the legalization process along to completion. It may take more time but, as was the recent case in which a state ballot for legalization was not approved because, I feel, the people saw the danger in the legalization law with respect to the element of “Big” influence and not a rejection of legalization outright. Any evidence of “Big” in the Marijuana legalization effort and process will eventually come under the influence of the “Big” agenda.

    • musicfan

      Agree with Jon Alan based on my experience in medicine over many years. As chains buy independent hospitals and hospitals buy doctors’ practices, care worsens in both quality and quantity. So in medicine, big is usually bad. With cannabis, I enjoy the “farmer’s market” dispensary approach coupled with lab testing for verification. No, I don’t trust Monsanto growing my medicine. Would you?

    • Dave_K

      I read an article a while ago that suggested that the people working with marijuana in Colorado are paid on average around $20 per hour. These smaller operations tend to treat their workers better than large corporations like Walmart or McDonalds and they pay a livable wage that permits their workers to earn above a poverty level. I think that their attempt to treat marijuana like alcohol is working far better than many expected and it is providing considerable support through taxation of their educational system. This appears to be a good model for other states to follow.

      • Kathleen Chippi

        The only regulation “like alcohol” in Colorado is the (unscientific for cannabis) age of 21. I am so sick of hearing “regulate like alcohol”. Cannabis has NOTHING IN COMMON WITH ALCOHOL. Regulation is clearly not even close in CO. The only thing the same as alcohol is the age 21, which protects few college students, the people most likely to be ‘busted’ for the safest therapeutic substance known to man and the people who can have their entire lives ruined over possession. Lets examine what “like alcohol” turn into in CO:

        Alcohol: 14,400 plus liquor licenses are issued/regulated yearly by 12 full time employee’s on a 1.2 million dollar budget. To prevent monopolies when alcohol prohibition ended, everyone is limited to 1 liquor license—for the most part, you either manufacture or you retail.

        There are dozens of different kinds of liquor licenses that cost from $3.50 cents (art show tasting) to $1,250 to manufacture (like COORS) and licenses allow for consumption on premise and in view of the general public. All felons can apply and own liquor licenses. And alcohol, even a onetime use, can KILL and costs society more than any other substance (death, accidents, violence, health care etc.)

        Cannabis: 750 cannabis licenses are issued/regulated yearly by 60 full time pot cops and the Governor said we needed 50-80 million budget.

        There are 3 licenses to pick from and they start at $1,250 but to abide by all the 1,000 plus pages of rules/regs you need at least $250,000 and to probably own your own building as any available zoning was ‘filled’ back in 2010 when the MMJ ‘industry’ bought their monopoly from the general assembly (all the people who moved here after they helped collapse real-estate and wall-street nationwide) to show CO how to “professionally” sell pot. Consumption on a licensed premise (even by employees) is illegal.

        Pot felons are banned from participating–but murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and other drug felons are welcome…(the new industry people who bought the language have friends they couldn’t exclude)…….and competition from long time home gorwers has been excluded, yes, some of the best growers. People can by as many business licenses as they can afford, which has already created the Colorado monopoly….

        oh and the businesses have been poisoning their customers for the last 5 years and are only now being called out but not even by the MED (pot cops) but by the city of Denver.

        And unadulterated cannabis has no known lethal dose in over 8,000 recorded years of human use. Cannabis heals more ailments than any other substance on the earth and is the safest. If it were truly legal it would save society money, not cost it, like alcohol….

        Science and 8,000 plus years of human use can no longer be ignored…. Until the tree of life is available for all people for all uses and retail is taxed equal to all other herbs or not at all the fight continues.

        Never forget who made cannabis ILLEGAL via LIES: 1. Big Government 2. Big Business and 3. the Media. Why would we let the perpetrators of unspeakable crimes now control or profit as we heal the nations they harmed? Again we have Big Business paying Big Government for more language/regulations/rules that keeps most people in harms way aand continues the &* year war based on LIES, PREJUDICE and GREED……

    • zfromthez

      Greed always fux things up!

  • Sinclair

    Words of wisdom

  • HellNo

    When people talk about “big tobacco” a lot of the negative imagery comes from the lies tobacco companies told to avoid the truth about health issues. But just the business model of the big tobacco companies, was good for the consumer. They were able to farm, package, and then sell their products at a bargain price.
    This business model for commercially farming, and packaging cannabis would be the cheapest way to supply the consumer after prohibition ends. And in a free market, I think ultimately this efficient business model is the future of the cannabis market.

    • saynotohypocrisy

      If small business owners are allowed to compete, and don’t get shut out by excessive regulation and excessive startup costs, there will be niches they can find. Once prices have fallen to reasonable levels, would you pay a little more to buy from a locally owned shop with an artistic cannabis culture friendly decor and staff and who gives back to the community? I know I would.

      • HellNo

        The costs for tobacco farming are double that of hemp farming. And the wholesale price of tobacco is $2.00/Lb. We’re not talking about a slight difference in cost with the current system. If you used the big tobacco business model, an ounce of cannabis buds could retail for less than a pack of cigarettes. And cigarette prices are mostly tax.

        • Jon Alan

          And if you use the big tobacco model the quality and availability will be under the control of a corruptable megalith. Your arguments make no sense to me.

        • saynotohypocrisy

          If large growers can grow for $1 a lb or so, as you’re saying, how much more would it cost small growers to grow? Twice as much? 3 times as much? More? It would hardly matter, it would be so cheap to grow, even for smaller growers, that the few bucks a pound cheaper that the megas could grow it could easily be offset by other factors.
          From what you’re saying the price has a long, long, long way to go until it reaches a normal market level.

    • Jon Alan

      With all due respect, to use the model of Big Tobacco and say, “But just the business model of the big tobacco companies, was good for the consumer. They were able to farm, package, and then sell their products at a bargain price.” Are you seriously saying that this monopoly was good for the consumers and led to bargain prices because it was out of the goodness of these monopolistic monsters? This is delusional in my opinion.

      • HellNo

        You don’t need a monopoly to commercially farm, and industrially package. The current business model of growing on the retail site, is inefficient. It’s like growing corn under lights in the back of the supermarket.

        • Jon Alan

          What States particularly are the ones where the “current business model” has failed? I need to know to study your example that “…the retail site, is inefficient. Its like growing corn under lights in the back of the supermarket.” This makes no sense to me unless you are growing your own. Please site examples.

        • jasen joseph hylbert

          A more accurate analogy would be that it is like growing basil right at the supermarket, which would be a very effective use of resources. As far as retail sales of herbal cannabis goes, growing in an urban greenhouse (or outdoor urban garden) which is also the point of retail sale is clearly the most efficient model. Your analogy would be accurate if people smoked corn silk, or if you were making a comparison between industrial hemp and corn. It sounds to me like you may just be someone who actually wants a lot of transportation fuel to be wantonly spent. Do you dislike the idea of urban greenhouses selling herbal cannabis because you are some backward price gouger who is standing in the way of food production? If so I pity you.

        • jasen joseph hylbert

          Thank you for the (albeit confused) reminder that industrial hemp could be a great large scale industry in the United States.
          Herbal cannabis should not be subjected to sin tax style overtaxation – we are in agreement on that concept. Pure herbal cannabis is a healthy alternative to consumption of alcoholic drinks and dangerous pills. However your negative criticism of production at the point of retail sale makes no sense. Obviously even with unfettered home growing there will be some retail market, and production being as close as possible to the point of retail sale stands to save fuel. If people used corn silk to relax and have fun in the way people use herbal cannabis ovaries, then growing relatively small batches of corn at retail sites for corn silk would make perfect sense. Your comparison of corn to cannabis basically serves as a reminder of the potential of a large scale industrial hemp industry. While a relatively small patch of hemp would be nice to have for those of us who raise our own eggs, grocery stores who sell packaged hempseed food in any considerable scale would obviously be relying on large fields – even then the fields being as close as possible would make the most sense. I think that when you use the word “inefficient” you are not really certain of what it means. There is really no debating that the most effective use of resources would involve herbal cannabis users producing it all at home and occasionally buying seed from sincerely enthusiastic seed producers, while visitors and those literally unable to self grow would rely on locally supplied retail stores (supplies being grown at the point of consumption or sale being the epitomy of local production).
          Terrorists are profiting off of high prices and scarcity of herbal cannabis and if you think that terrorists gaining influence helps your life as a whole you are sadly mistaken.

  • Dave_K

    Millions of Americans, young and old, depend on medical marijuana particularly when pharmaceuticals have failed them. NIDA, the US Dept of Health, and the US National Cancer Institute ALL now agree that this plant “KILLS” cancer (as such it is clearly a medicine, for those of you in the DEA). Take a minute and sign the petition to force the director of the DEA (Chuck Rosenburg) to step down for his outrageous statements declaring that medical marijuana is a joke. If Chuck Rosenburg cannot play with the rest of the federal government’s own team he should resign!

    https://www.change.org/p/obama-fire-dea-head-for-calling-medical-marijuana-a-joke?source_location=trending_petitions_home_page&algorithm=curated_trending

  • AntiIgnorant

    Shop local and grow your own as a hobby. That will keep it in the hands of the many. Problem solved, you’re welcome.

  • Duncan20903

    I’m much more worried about Big Prohibition, Big Addictionology and Big Fat Lies. Unlike “Big Merrywanna” those are not just a figment of some foaming at the mouth prohibitionist’s imagination. OK, OK Big Fat Lies is just symbolism.

    The tobacco companies have no interest in marketing cannabis. You know, to me it appears that the only “reason” that so many people think that they would be interested is because the most popular way to consume either or both is to smoke it.

    Acapulco Gold was the trademarked name of a suntan lotion. They were sued by the Feds to give up their trademark but the administrative law judge ruled that it was perfectly reasonable for the trademark owner to use it to promote a suntan lotion.

    The tobacco companies have never, ever trademarked the name of a strain of cannabis for enjoyment. How can I say that with such confidence? Because it’s against the law to trademark an illegal product.
    ———————————-
    http://www.wsj.COM/articles/SB10001424052748704682604575368783687129488

    Quoting from article linked:
    Patent Office Raises High Hopes, Then Snuffs Them Out
    Short-Lived Trademark Category for Marijuana Is Nipped in the Bud

    By Justin Scheck
    July 19, 2010

    /snip/
    Mr. Pappas said the office will go back to its pre-April policy of accepting pot-trademark applications without providing a specific pot category. But that’s back to square one: The office has never actually granted a pot trademark, the spokesman said, adding it’s “highly unlikely” that it would do so in the future.
    /snip/

  • jasen joseph hylbert

    One good aspect of self provision is that one can be truly certain about what is in the product. Another is the freeing up of all of the transportation resources which would be used to transport the cannabis for other necessary uses. Repealing prohibition is about a more effective use of resources so that we can all realize things like transportation and adequate food. Repealing prohibition is about downsizing the divisions of government associated with enforcement and incarceration. Technology has freed humanity from slavery and we are no longer compelled to canabalistic cultures by being at the whim of extreme conditions. Those who cling to the house of cards which is prohibition/ regulation of cannabis are backward folks still somewhat entrenched in a cannibalistic culture. I invite all of you to join modern human culture and see hemp as the real viable industry surrounding the cannabis plant, and herbal cannabis as a self produced logical alternative to alcoholic beverage consumption and dangerous pill consumption.
    The bigots who seek to take our herbal cannabis and turn it into poisonous commercial cigarettes like happened with tobacco have their ideas advanced when those of us sincere about herbal cannabis allow ourselves to be sucked into the evils of the artificial scarcity based corrupt communist imposed lack system.

  • Mike Johnson

    Responsible big business is almost an oxymoron. But as you pointed out it can be done. I think the most important thing is to make sure the people can grow their own. Washington state not letting people grow for themselves is wrong and probably will be changed. People growing their own cannabis will make sure that any big business will have to have some really good product at good prices, or they will fail. And many small growers are big business for many small supply companies. Big anything tends toward strictly profit. Bonners excluded. More companies like them and we all would be better off.

  • jasen joseph hylbert

    Anyone against unfettered self provision of herbal cannabis must really hate themselves for being reliant on such a hateful and misinformation based wasteful system of welfare and for being a part of a model which wantonly spends oil and enriches violent hateful anti – westerners. Anyone who is against unfettered industrial hemp production must hate themselves every time they eat food or wear clothes. Are my comments being subjected to increased scrutiny before showing up on the site because there are some prohibitionist moles who are a part of this website???
    The parasitic folks who have been reliant on the system of prohibition may try to keep it around longer, while deluding themselves into denying that they are prohibitionists. When it comes down to it there are freedom lovers and freedom haters. I invite you to become freedom lovers.
    Any loss of profits from overtaxation has come about as a result of the lie based stigmatization of herbal cannabis which is used as justification for the prohibitions/ regulations which stand in the way of cannabis freedom.

  • jasen joseph hylbert

    Stop giving the freedom haters ideas by being such prohibition/ restriction dependent parasites.

  • jasen joseph hylbert

    If the day comes when herbal cannabis has additives put onto it before retail sale it will ultimately be the fault of those who seeked to limit self provision.

  • Ham’Diya Lane

    If Kevin Sorbet truly care, then push for home grown.. There’s room for everyone in this new era of Cannabis culture..