We all know that there are plenty of opposition forces to the movement for marijuana legalization. As full legalization looms, opposition becomes louder. There are plenty of companies and organizations that stand to lose jobs and money if cannabis consumption becomes nationally decriminalized. The most interesting part however, are the organizations that have kept quiet up until now. These are the groups nobody thinks about, the ones that profit from the war on drugs and don’t want you to know about it.
Ok so this one is a no-brainer, but we’re still going to talk about it. Pharmaceutical companies clearly have something to lose if the ganja becomes legal. These companies have been making a ton of money off opioid painkillers for decades. Opioid painkillers are extremely expensive and as far as the human brain is concerned, they’re basically street heroin – and just as addictive. As more research is conducted with cannabis, it’s becoming clear that weed could be a viable alternative to expensive opioid pain killers. 80 Americans die every day from opioid overdose but states where medical marijuana has been approved have seen opioid deaths go down by about 25%. What’s worse for the pharmaceutical companies is that good ganja doesn’t even need special processing equipment, it can be grown at home.
With the writing on the wall, pharmaceutical companies are already dumping money into the political system in an attempt to monopolize the production and distribution of medical marijuana.
Police Unions & Prison Guard Unions
Local police departments have become dependent on federal funding from the war on drugs. Although the money is intended to go specifically for one purpose, like most bureaucratic organizations, it’s become simply a part of their operating budget. Because arrests for cannabis account for over half of all drug arrests, marijuana legalization threatens this funding. Police lobbyists have spent millions in an attempt to keep the drug illegal and stamp out the existence of the dispensary business.
In 2008 the California Correctional Peace Officers Association spent over $1 million to fight a change in the law that would have reduced sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Prison guard unions like this one want to keep people locked up for longer because their jobs depend on full prisons. Nonviolent weed smokers present the best and safest way for them to fill prisons without having a ‘dangerous’ population. Medical marijuana and marijuana legalization are threats to their business model.
When it comes to recreational use, the alcohol industry wants your money to stay with them rather than be spent on legal pot. Americans only have so much discretionary income to go around so alcohol and tobacco industries have lobbied aggressively to keep marijuana off the playing field. When Wikileaks broke the hacked DNC emails in 2016, some of them included messages from the industry to politicians attempting to make marijuana use look to be more dangerous than it really is.
Drug Testing Companies
One of the groups that nobody really thinks about are the drug testing companies. Back in the mid 1980’s, random drug testing for employees began to gain popularity. Even minimum wage jobs routinely drug-tested their employees during the hiring process and throughout their tenure. Most companies have a mandatory drug test anytime there’s an employee accident. A $4 billion industry of drug testing labs cropped up around this practice.
The interesting thing about employee drug testing is that rarely is anything found other than marijuana. There are multiple reasons why this is the case. For one, marijuana remains detectable in the blood for up to 30 days from the last use. For comparison, more dangerous drugs such as cocaine are only detectable up to 4 days from last use and heroin leaves the body within 2 days. What this means is drug testing essentially targets marijuana more than any other drug. Employers continue to pay for the drug testing service because of a perceived value. If marijuana legalization goes national, most employers will be less inclined to use the service if they can’t refuse to hire due to a positive marijuana result.
Private (for-profit) Prisons
Private prisons make more money when they’re full. They also have lower expenses when they’re full of nonviolent offenders; there are no riots, and their prison guards are relatively safe. It’s no surprise then that ganja smokers are the perfect residents for these places. Marijuana legalization threatens not only the inflow of prisoners, but also threatens the balance between violent & nonviolent inmates.
Companies That Benefit From Prison Slave Labor
Seriously I could write an entire article just on this one – but it’s already been done. In an article on returntonow.net, we learn that 86% of prisoners are locked up for non-violent crimes, usually drug-related. The war on Marijuana actually helps to fill prisons and while slavery was outlawed in 1865, it’s still allowed forced labor to continue as punishment for crimes. It’s so bad that there are actually more people today working hard labor for basically nothing than there were slaves in 1830. Companies such as Whole Foods use cheap prison labor to produce everything from farm raised tilapia to goat cheese. Walmart does business with multiple prison labor factories including those where it gets its produce. In 1993, AT&T laid off thousands of telephone operators and replacing them with prison inmates who make less than $2 a day.
For a full list of companies that use prison labor, check out buycott.com. When you buy from these companies, it’s important to understand that “Made in America” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any good for the country. “Made in America” might actually mean, “Made in American Prisons” – probably by a guy who got caught smoking a little bit of weed.
Wealthy Majorities Who Dislike Minorities & Poor People
The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did. ~Nixon Domestic Policy Chief John Ehrlichman
Marijuana legalization is a threat to a long-standing status quo. While today’s drug laws apply the same to all illegal substances, weed smokers face a more difficult battle both from the law and employers. As explained earlier, the long retention of THC in the blood means that drug testing disproportionately affects marijuana users over any other recreational drug. It also happens that marijuana users tend to be minorities and poor people since it’s relatively inexpensive. Without going into the details of how deep institutionalized racism goes, let’s just leave it at the fact that research has proven time and time again that legislation that keeps marijuana illegal disproportionately affects minorities & people of color.
The Take Away
So if you’re not a supporter of marijuana legalization, maybe it’s time to take another look at the facts. Cannabis might not be the best thing to have everyone smoking all the time, but it’s definitely not the demon it’s been made out to be.
Keywords: Marijuana, Weed, Cannabis, Ganja, Medical Marijuana, Marijuana Legalization, Dispensary, Pot