Why marijuana won’t become another Big Tobacco (The Washington Post)



From a public health perspective, marijuana is more like Jack Daniels than Marlboro. Photo via Flickr user Carlon Kurbel, used under a Creative Commons license.

I wrote earlier this week about the sophisticated ad campaigns recently launched by supporters and opponents of marijuana legalization. The two camps agree that marijuana is going mainstream but part company on whether this is an ominous development or cause for celebration.

The argument put forth by the anti-legalization Grass Is Not Greenercoalition is a novel one, and worth digging into. “If we’re not careful, the marijuana industry could quickly become the next Big Tobacco,” its Web site warns.

“I think most Americans would be surprised to learn how quickly this industry has matured,” Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) and an outspoken legalization critic, told me. “Big Tobacco ignored major scientific findings about cigarettes, deceived the public, funded their own research, and devoted every ounce of their energy to one thing: increasing use for profit.” He says the marijuana industry is doing the same today.

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