Imagine if Joe Camel became Stoner Frog: a mellow beach-bum who enjoys life and looks great doing it. The transformation of Big Tobacco into Big Marijuana may already be underway, argues former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
Emerging marijuana conglomerates will use the same tactics as Big Tobacco to sell addictive substances to any market it can, including minors, warns Kennedy. The rush toward legalization will have negative consequences, and those consequences need to be seriously discussed alongside topics like tax revenue, personal liberty, and legitimate medical uses.
Products are already being sold, argues Kennedy, that clearly appeal to younger marijuana users such as candies, cookies, and lollipops—all containing THC, the active chemical compound in marijuana. Already, there are signs that Big Tobacco wants a slice of the marijuana pie:
“Not surprisingly, Big Tobacco is also getting on the marijuana bandwagon,” said Kennedy. “Manufacturers Altria and Brown & Williamson have registered domain names that include the words marijuana and cannabis. Imagine how they will spend peddling their new brand of addiction to our kids.”
While responsible marijuana use among adults is one thing, the drug does affect cerebral systems like memory, learning, attention, and reaction time. And studies suggest that brains still in developmental stages are affected more marijuana use.
Senior journalist Tony Dokoupil explains how a liberal backlash against marijuana could arise if faceless corporations begin marketing genetically engineered marijuana crops to underage users.