Debunking The Nightmare of Corporate Marijuana

Marlboro Marijuana
I ain't gonna smoke that shit... you? (Image via YouTube)

Yes on 64No sooner had I posted my Part I of a three-part series on Stoners Against Legalization than did I receive on Facebook a perfect example of the anti-Prop 64 hysteria in California.

I’ll tell you what bro if you want to give up your break go ahead prop 64 passes it’s an ultimate takeover of cannabis just like they did with cigarettes and tobacco you won’t be able to grow any so it don’t matter where you live once it passes in California five years later you won’t find it except for in a cigarette store from Philip Morris so enjoy your Philip Morris pot and I don’t know if you’re even registered to vote in California but if you are I hope you don’t know but you thought yes that’s cool it’s because of prop 215 was about compassion prop 64 is about greed and you fall right in there cool bro have a great day

Never mind that Philip Morris has been called Altria for thirteen years and this Stoner Against Legalization lacks a period on his keyboard. His breathless rant is a distillation of a longstanding fear within the marijuana community that pre-dates legalization, medical marijuana, and even decriminalization (thus the antiquated Philip Morris reference).

The Nightmare of Corporate Marijuana!

Stoner lore has long predicted that the evil cigarette corporations would pounce on the cannabis industry once legalization took hold. Stoners will point to unearthed documents from the tobacco lawsuits that showed those corporations examining the potential of the marijuana cigarette market in legalization and analyzing how their manufacturing infrastructure could adapt to cannabis.

To this point, there is a kernel of truth. Indeed, big cigarette manufacturers would have the mass-production rolling machines, existing packaging machines, and distribution logistics worked out. They’d have incredible marketing muscle and the kind of capital to dominate the market.

To which I ask, so what?

Prop 64 vs. Now
EVERY marijuana penalty but one (violating non-smoking area) is the same or lesser under Prop 64. (Credit: Chris Conrad)

This Stoner Against Legalization is trying to tell me I “won’t be able to grow any” when we pass Prop 64, which establishes a right to personal home grow of six plants indoors that no locality can ban? It actually allows for more personal grows, because you don’t have to be a patient to grow and the California localities that currently ban indoor home grow won’t be able to anymore.

Yes, after 2020 in California, there will be mega grows, mass-producing standard weed cigarettes, just like ImBev, a multinational conglomerate, pumps out billions of barrels of Budweiser. And yet, here in Portland, right across the street, I can get growlers full of locally-brewed beer of far superior quality to Budweiser from 30 different taps. Or if I want to, I can brew gallons of my own beer at home.

Why would weed be any different than beer? I say go ahead, try and mass-produce schwaggy marijuana cigarettes – I’m not going to be smoking them. I’ll be shopping from whomever produces the best product at the lowest price. But if somebody else wants to smoke schwag and drink Bud Light, who am I to stop them?

We’ve had 80+ years of the full force of prohibition to try and stop us, and that has failed. The threat of SWAT and prison didn’t stop us from growing when we could have 0 plants, how is life going to be worse when we can legally grow 6?

Harborside OG Kush
Oakland’s Harborside Health Center. Without marijuana legalization, without steep taxes, near the greatest marijuana output center in the world, you get an EIGHTH of OG Kush for $45.

Oh, wait. I know how it gets worse. If you’ve been growing your plants and selling the harvest to dispensaries at prohibition-inflated prices, being the big fish in the small pond thanks to a lack of capitalized competitors and regulations, I guess it really would suck if the price of a wholesale pound dropped from, say, $1,200 to $120, and you had to compete in an open market.

“Prop 215 was about compassion prop 64 is about greed” this Stoner Against Legalization tells me, when the compassionate price for patients to purchase 3.5 grams of OG Kush at Harborside in Oakland today is $45. That same $45 will buy twice as much of the same strain in Vancouver, Washington, and that’s with a 37 percent state tax.

The Stoners Against Legalization fear isn’t that “you won’t be able to grow any” – it’s that they won’t be able to sell any.

Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 199 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Marijuana Agenda, a live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 70 North American cities.