The anti-marijuana argument has evolved a lot in the last couple of years. For decades opponents would make claims like ‘marijuana is a gateway drug,’ ‘marijuana makes you stupid,’marijuana is bad for your health.’ As studies came out debunking those claims, and as support for marijuana reform has grown, opponents have evolved their arguments. A very popular argument right now with opponents is that ‘big marijuana is spending enormous sums of money to affect the political system to line a small group of people’s pockets.’
Opponents like Kevin Sabet try to make it sound like there is a clandestine group of rich people try to create the next ‘big tobacco’ industry. In reality, marijuana political spending pales in comparison to other political issues. Per Bloomberg:
In the past decade, $21.4 million has been spent on ballot initiatives at the state level on marijuana, according to data compiled by the Helena, Montana-based National Institute on Money in State Politics. That compares with $636.7 million on gambling, $251 million on tobacco and $234.6 million on gay and lesbian issues.
The issue may energize young voters, while being viewed as an affront by older Americans who tend to make up a larger proportion of those casting ballots.
The tobacco political lobby spends literally more than ten times what the marijuana lobby does. Support for marijuana reform is growing, and victories are occurring, but money is not the main contributing factor. Yes, money is a contributing factor, but not as much as logical reasoning. Americans know that marijuana prohibition has failed, and that legalization/regulation works, as proven by Colorado and Washington. The momentum for reform is building because Americans want a new approach to marijuana policies, despite what opponents say.