Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco Coalition Emerges to Shape Legalization in Their Favor

Since our founding in 1970, NORML has been the leading voice for marijuana consumers. During the past five decades, we’ve stood up against numerous forces — both large and small. We’ve never backed down from a fight; we’ve never stopped speaking truth to power. And we’ve never backed away from our ultimate goal: allowing adults their civil liberty to possess and consume marijuana responsibly without being either criminalized and stigmatized. 

Our efforts have won the hearts and minds of the majority of Americans. Now we are turning this critical mass into public policy. The question is no longer: “Should we legalize marijuana,” but rather, “How should we legalize marijuana?” NORML has provided a blueprint as to what an all-encompassing, consumer-friendly legalization policy should look like. But there are others who are espousing a very different vision of legalization — one that puts corporate interests ahead of those of the individual consumer.

Earlier this week, representatives from some of America’s largest corporate players in the alcohol industry, the tobacco industry, and the insurance industry announced the formation of a new federal lobbying group. 

Do you really think that these industries have your best interests at heart? 

While these industries have been raking in billions of dollars over the past decades, NORML has been fighting for your rights to possess and consume cannabis legally. Now that we have made so much headway, these corporate interests are seeking to swoop in and shape the landscape in a manner that works best for them, not for you. 

These folks answer to their shareholders, At NORML, we answer to you. 

In our annual member survey, we asked a simple question: Should we use our limited resources to call out the bad actors. You overwhelmingly said yes. And, we are ready to do so. 

NORML 2020 Survey Results

We’ve already seen the influence of these corporate interests. In some instances, many of these same people have lobbied against consumer-friendly legalization provisions, such as the right for adults to cultivate marijuana in the privacy of their homes. These corporate entities also have pushed for statewide limits on the number of licensed cannabis producers and retailers, in an effort to keep prices and supply artificially limited — and to keep the economic benefits of legalization largely out of the reach of average Americans, especially people of color.

That’s their vision of legalization. NORML’s vision of legalization includes the right to personal cultivation and mandates low barriers of entry to the cannabis market so that every American who wishes to benefit from legalization can do so. Our vision includes the mass expungement of criminal records and provides justice to those communities that have been historically most impacted by the failed drug war. Our vision of legalization stops the discrimination in the workplace against those who choose to consume cannabis in their off-hours. Our vision includes low taxes and ready access to those adults who wish to legally obtain affordable cannabis products in a safe, licensed, regulated environment.

We’ve seen how big corporate money and influence have corrupted and corroded many other industries. We can’t let the legal marijuana industry become their next payday. We’ve fought too hard for far too long together to accept such an outcome.

Winning the battle against corporate influence won’t be easy. These entities have limitless supplies of cash at their disposal. Nonetheless, we’re positive we can overcome them — just like we defeated the ideological prohibitionists of yesteryear. Why? Because we have something they will never have; we have the power of the people. We have YOU.

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