Across the board, the anti-marijuana lobby is funded by groups with a vested interest in maintaining a highly profitable status quo that has needlessly destroyed millions of lives and cost nearly two trillion dollars since the 1970s. They have a lot of money to spend thanks to those decades of profiting off the criminalization of a wide swath of the American republic, and they use it to spread fear and disinformation in an attempt to hold back the turning tide of public opinion.
They crow about marijuana causing health problems, but they never mention the health effects of prison time needlessly served over possession of a drug far less toxic than other fully legal drugs like caffeine and alcohol. They certainly won’t tell you about the negative health effects of solitary confinement, which can be handed out arbitrarily by prison officials to anyone who ends up behind bars over a marijuana offense. They won’t let slip the beneficial, non-intoxicating treatments for epileptic disorders that can be manufactured from marijuana. And they’ll never tell you about the diverse health benefits that modern scientific research has shown marijuana to have.
They tell you that a Big Tobacco-like “Big Marijuana” will come along and make massive profits, but they never mention the comfortable relationship between the Drug Enforcement Agency and Mexican drug cartels that allows these criminals to violently reap huge profits with impunity, prompting one former DEA agent to say that the agency “doesn’t want the drug war to end.” They won’t mention the various versions, illegal and state-legal, of “Big Marijuana” that already exist and make billions off the current regime. And they’ll never say a word about how the highly profitable alcohol and pharmaceutical industries back the status quo in order to protect their bottom lines.
They make predictions about spikes in crime, but they won’t mention that data says crime rates actually drop if marijuana is legalized. They don’t mention private prison companies whose entire business plan relies on a continued supply of drug war prisoners and who trumpet “expansion opportunities” as a competitive advantage. And they’ll never tell you about the powerful prison guards’ union that has spent millions of dollars lobbying against drug-crime sentencing reform and term limits for the politicians who benefit from their largesse.
Not only does the anti-marijuana lobby twist reality to fit their self-serving, fear-riddled narrative, but it does so while pretending that they’re being reasonable. Reasonable people from across the political spectrum with reasonable concerns about marijuana legalization most certainly exist. But no matter how much opponents try to convince America that these are the people who want to stop legalization, they simply aren’t.
Reasonable people aren’t trying to maintain billion-dollar profits at the expense of non-violent citizens’ civil rights. Reasonable people aren’t looking at the prospect of doing more harm to their fellow citizens’ lives through law enforcement than the drug from which they’re supposedly protecting them as a way of maintaining a competitive business advantage. And reasonable people aren’t suggesting that the federal government overrule states that have decided that the drug war causes far more problems for them than it ever comes close to solving.
The anti-marijuana lobby, clinging to the profits it has turned from a nation’s misery, is actively doing all of these things. While they do their best to distract you with theoretical worries from the deep, very much non-theoretical societal ills the Drug War has caused this country, the anti-marijuana lobby hopes you don’t glance off to the side and notice that the tide of public opinion has not only shifted but begun to make an impact on policy.
Late last year Gallup announced that 58 percent of Americans are in favor of legalization, up from 50 percent two years before. That’s a major shift and it has begun convincing lawmakers to make serious changes to the way this country deals with marijuana. States are decriminalizing and legalizing despite federal law, and the president has ordered the DEA and other executive agencies to stay hands-off with the state-level experiments.
But without actual legislative changes at the federal level, the next president could come in and overturn all this progress. That’s why the vested interests have stepped up their game. They’re becoming more desperate with each passing month and heavy lobbying in Washington, D.C., is their best chance to keep the country from moving into a future with less crime and a happier, freer population. Legalization advocates have public opinion on their side, but they also have the tougher job in overturning the status quo. We won’t know for sure how all this will end up going for quite some time, but one thing for sure is that the anti-marijuana lobby will continue to spread fear to protect their profits.