Establishment Money Holding Up Legalization, Ben Cohen Says

The question of why marijuana is still illegal in most states and at the federal level is becoming more and more relevant as both medical and recreational cannabis continue to make political strides.

The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream thinks he knows who’s to blame.

In a recent op-ed for U.S. News & World Report, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen pointed the finger at several culprits, including the pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol industries, the law enforcement community and the “prison-industrial complex,” all of which stand to make serious cash off of the continued prohibition of marijuana.

The true fight, Cohen argued, is not about health risks possibly posed by marijuana use, or even about the danger of kids getting easier access to cannabis. In truth, he asserted, it’s about money.

“The crusaders against weed constitute a long list of suspiciously self-interested folks,” wrote Cohen, who spoke at the recent Marijuana Business Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. “Pharmaceutical companies compensate leading anti-marijuana researchers in order to keep their customers on painkillers over cannabis, which is cheaper.”

But Cohen ended on an optimistic note, pointing to recent electoral victories for cannabis, and wrote, “Eventually, the public will rout big money out of the nation’s capital. As with the legalization of marijuana, it’s just a matter of time.”

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2 comments on “Establishment Money Holding Up Legalization, Ben Cohen Says
  1. Matthew Kuehlhorn on

    Yes. Cohen is spot on from my perspective. It is just a matter of time with some many smart minds involved.

    One thing I know – as we change these laws, we must also change how we teach about substances and maybe we should do away with ‘drug prevention’ in general.

  2. Charles Davenport on

    I’ve contended for so long that 1/2 the prisoners would be gone without illegal refer. Think of the costs involved with the whole process of arresting, booking, arraigning, housing in a cell, courts costs… and on and on. This is our tax dollars going up in smoke.

    see the footnote at the bottom from whence I copied this:

    Why are there so many prisoners?
    “The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

    The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”
    – See more at:


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