Marijuana Legalization: The War On Drugs Is a Blessing For Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, and Big Alcohol


Corporatism, rather than capitalism, is really how Western economies function. Big corporations use their lobbying influence for their own benefit in order to block competitors that could easily outweigh them. This is especially obvious in the U.S. with the so-called War on Drugs. 

Many big companies have helped with making drugs — especially pot — illegal and keeping them illegal. The petrochemical industry saluted the war on pot, since hemp is cheaper, more durable — the Declaration of Independence and King James' Bible were both printed on hemp paper — and far more ecological than wood pulp. It was a big help for DuPont Chemicals, which had developed a cheaper process to treat wood pulp than other means available in the 1930s. But since hemp was better, “something” had to be done. Andrew Mellon, former secretary of Treasury under Hoover with a huge stake in DuPont, used his political influence to name his nephew-in-law Harry Anslinger as head of the Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger then used his powers to pretend that pot was dangerous and ban it. A 1985 book, The Emperor Has No Clothes, supported the DuPont thesis.

Drugs Battling Drugs

In more recent history, more companies have lobbied to keep pot illegal, among them other drug manufacturers like the alcohol and tobacco industries. According to a UC Berkeley study, pot is a substitute for both substances. In fact, when pot smokers can't find their drug, they turn to alcohol. Both the tobacco and alcohol industry has lobbied hard to keep this competitor away. They did so by sponsoring as much as 50% (along with pharmaceuticals) of programs like Partnership for a Drug-Free America, or by donating to causes against Proposition 19.

The same thing goes with pharmaceutical products. Pot is much cheaper and has much fewer side effects and isn't known to cause death from heavy consumption. In comparison, pharmaceutical drug overdoses caused more than 22,000 death, surpassing (arbitrarily) illegal drug overdoses. No wonder they want to keep pot illegal; they even patented Marinol, the only FDA-approved artificial cannabinoid, even though it is said to be less effective than natural pot.

Finally, the infamous prison-industrial complex, akin to Eisenhower's military-industrial complex, also profits big time from the War on Pot. Indeed, by criminalizing non-violent act such as pot smoking, more people get jailed and more prisons need to be built, “creating jobs” the same way breaking windows would. The loans for these constructions are financed by big financial institutions. And let's not forget helicopter companies, whose vehicles are used during drug raids and herbicide spraying.

The War of Drugs, just like any government involvement in the economy, is meant to protect special interests. Always keep that in mind when you hear about discussions to restrict/forbid altogether any kind of product.