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How Do You Feel About Big Business Trying To Take Over The Marijuana Industry?


big business jamen shively monsanto marijuana industryLast week social media and blogs were inundated with comments and articles about a former Microsoft Executive’s (Jamen Shively) announcement that he is planning to jump into the marijuana industry.

“At a press conference in downtown’s tallest skyscraper, Shively said he and business partners will begin in Washington State and Colorado, where rules for legal pot come online this year, and wait as voters pick off prohibition across the country. Flanked by lawyers, a state lawmaker, and former Mexico president Vicente Fox, Shively said he is a “couple weeks” from an initial $10 million milestone, and within three years, he fully expects to open—some medical marijuana and some recreational marijuana—a dozen branded stores in Washington State, another dozen stores in Colorado, and as many as hundreds in California (a state where only medical marijuana is currently legal but where voters are widely expected to legalize recreational pot in 2016).” Reported journalist Dominic Holden.

A big business takeover of the marijuana industry has been something that many marijuana activists and current industry members have feared for awhile now. The fears are well founded, and the infiltration of the marijuana industry by big business is something that is not going to go away. I have talked to a lot of outside investors since the 2012 Election, and many of them are performing their due diligence to see how they can crack into a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing larger by the day.

I always snicker at them, because they are in over their heads. Jamen Shively, if his claims prove to be true, is in way over his head. It’s almost as if they don’t realize how hard it is to crack into the marijuana industry, especially being an outsider. Opening a chain of marijuana stores is not like opening a chain of fast food joints. I have heard many investors from outside of the marijuana industry talk as if marijuana isn’t illegal at the federal level. They talk as if the IRS isn’t going after marijuana businesses by using the tax system and that the DEA isn’t constantly trying to go after the marijuana industry at just about every level (especially retail). The things that they learned in traditional business and from business school don’t always translate to the marijuana industry. Just because something worked in the credit card industry or computer industry doesn’t mean that it is going to work in the marijuana industry. In a lot of cases, because it worked in big business, it definitely won’t work in the marijuana industry, where many consumers don’t like big business and what they are about.

The marijuana industry has long been a cottage industry, operating at a local level. Part of that is because of laws prohibiting/hindering the industry but a lot of it is also because of the local-minded culture that marijuana consumers have. How many times have you heard ‘my hometown/state has the best marijuana on the planet’? I’m assuming it’s far more often than you hear ‘I sure wish I could buy generic, mass produced marijuana products from afar.’ This is especially true in the two states that have legal marijuana (Washington and Colorado), where they have a lot of local pride in their marijuana.

Big business members from outside of the marijuana industry just don’t ‘get it.’ The fact that Mr. Shively is talking about importing marijuana from Mexico shows just how out of touch he is with the average marijuana consumer. The only people that consume marijuana from Mexico are people that have to. There just simply isn’t any other marijuana in their area, so they are forced to either go without or smoke bammer. FYI Mr. Shively and others, NO ONE LIKES SMOKING BAMMER.

The only good thing that I can see from big business trying to crack into the marijuana industry is that it might speed up the rate of reform. Politicians are more likely to listen to big business lobbyists than they are to the common person, for better or worse. However, I always tell people that think the big business lobby will help speed up reform that Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana because of the efforts of a collective group of common people – not big business. Marijuana reform will come, whether big business is involved or not.

I’d rather see the people from the cottage marijuana industry get marijuana reform achieved so that they can receive the financial benefits that come from a legal, regulated market. The idea that the people that have been fighting for reform for so many years are going to be pushed out by big business breaks my heart to even think about. It’s better for the marijuana consumer to have people from inside the marijuana industry creating and distributing the products they buy rather than big business too. I certainly know that I don’t want to buy a pack of ‘bammer joints’ and I doubt others do too, especially when there are so many quality products that I can buy at the local level from true marijuana industry experts.

One thing that really bothers me about big business people trying to get into the marijuana industry is that they rarely, if ever, try to lead reform efforts. They are simply waiting for all of us to do the heavy lifting, then they are going to try to swoop in to reap the benefits. Why doesn’t big business fight for 280e reform? Why doesn’t big business lead the way on fighting for asset forfeiture reform? Why doesn’t big business support initiatives? If they do currently, they certainly aren’t doing it enough! Planning to profit off of the backs of activists is a slap in the face in my opinion.

What do readers think? What are  your fears about a marijuana industry takeover? Do you think that big business can overcome the hurdles that they face and take over the marijuana industry, or do you think that this is all hype? Do you fear that companies like Monsanto will eventually takeover, and ruin, the marijuana industry? Does anyone out there think that the marijuana industry could benefit from some big business influences? I look forward to reading your comments.

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  1. unitedcannabisworkers on

    As big business begins to invade our industry (and tobacco companies are my biggest fear since they could care less about their customers), my people are working diligently to create a voice for the workers in those big companies. We are the only advocate organization created exclusively for the workers in the industry. Check out unitedcannabisworkers.org or vist united cannbis workers on facebook and find out what we think of big business. I was preaching warnings about this a year ago at the Los Angeles Hempcon Convention. Scot Bennett, President, United Cannabis Workers.

  2. Kimberly Walden on

    I am a medical patient and was one of the ones that put my neck out to get this far, I now wonder what has happened. Us Grass-roots people are now getting screwed all our right are being taken, we will always be dirty for a DUI, and they want to load the plant with over 200 additives. I see big business as evil waiting around the corner. All we can do at this point is boycott, but we really need to stick together on this issue at this point. Because it maybe legal now, but rights are being taken real fast, watch the bottom line!!!!!

  3. I believe they already have :( I don’t have a link for proof but I remember seeing something about this not too long ago. :(

  4. I agree with areal hippy if you can’t grow it yourself it’s not truly legagal. Government has simply found a way to regulate and make us pay for something that is our god given right in the first place.this issue has funded and fueled a police state and made POW of thousands of americans. This isn’t about profits, it’s about freedom to choose for oneself that which they will or will not do.

  5. the only way people are gonna buy government sanctioned herb is if its cheaper and better quality than the gangsters selling it. like in Uruguay, i heard the legal herb there is only gonna cost $2 a gram … $30 a gram (the amount i heard they were tossing around in CO) isn’t gonna fly with anyone

  6. I just hope Monsanto doesn’t get their filthy grippers on cannabis seeds and start selling us GMO herb! I will grow my own if that is the case .. fuck some GMO!

  7. thank you for writing this this is so incredibly true not only do I think big business is going to try to push their way in but I also think that once they push themselves and they will fail horribly due to the culture that surrounds cannabis and you are right in saying that most people look for organic very well grown cannabis over mass produce genetically altered crappy funk weed and yes it is very funny that they think they can import from Mexico not only will they end up in jail but they need to realize that in at the other place other than Colorado and Washington that has a medical marijuana lawsthat you cannot start setup selling cannabis without for setting up a non-profit Collective or cooperative in medical states you cannot sell cannabis for profit legally and it’s funny that they are not seeing that

  8. Which is better?

    The right to possess 1 ounce of marijuana, 1 pound of edibals and a 6pack of pot drink with zero penalties. No fines, jail, forced treatment, drug courts or criminal record.
    And the option of having a safe legit market to buy your marijuana where its tested and you know what your getting.


    (BEFORE I-502)
    Marijuana 100% illegal. Possess any amount and you get fines, jail, forced treatment, and your weed confiscated that you paid good money for. And no option of a safe legit market. Your forced to deal with dangerous criminals to get your marijuana.

    As watered down as I-502 is with no homegrows. How are you going to tell me that the 2nd option is better than the first?

  9. Arent they still sending you to jail even without I-502 for growing your own???

    At least with I-502 you could possess an ounce of marijuana, a pound of brownies, and a 6pack of pot drink with ZERO PENALTY. They dont fine you, jail you, confiscate your weed, or put you in drug courts like they would without I-502.

    At least with I-502 you will have the option of buying marijuana from a safe legit source instead of relying on criminals who might sell you laced adulterated poisoned weed. Something that wasnt allowed before I-502.

    How can you tell me that I-502 with the right to possess marijuana with no penalty and the right to buy it from a safe legit source is somehow WORSE? Even if it is highly taxed, At least I would have access to it.

  10. So you’re going to be much happier with the LCB “Revenuers” throwing you in prison, confiscating your weed and sending you to treatment? Is this a big step forward for you? I agree with bcainw….wake the fuck up!!!

  11. Joe the “problem” is that the states are going to monopolize it and also send you to jail if you continue to “grow your own.” Please, wake the fuck up.

  12. Id take “tax, regulate and control” over “fines, prison, confiscate your weed, and forced treatment” any day! .

  13. State sanctioned marijuana sales is a ripoff ..
    If u can’t grow your own it’s really not legal…these Clubs have become a joke IMO..they can giv us a lousy 2 toothpick joints for 15 or 20.. Fuck u ..I’ll just grow a pound weather it’s legal or not..

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