Brookings Study: Fears About ‘Big Marijuana’ Are Overblown

Did you miss the webinar “Women Leaders in Cannabis: Shattering the Grass Ceiling?” Head to MJBiz YouTube to watch it now!

A new study from an influential think tank argues that concerns are overblown that big corporations will come to dominate the marijuana industry, and instead contends that policy makers should focus on harmful practices – such as marketing to minors.

The Brooking Institution study – “Worry about bad marijuana—not Big Marijuana” – analyzes the argument that the marijuana industry is in danger of becoming like “Big Tobacco,” an influential lobby that pursues profits at the expense of safety and ethics.

The authors’ conclusion: Not quite.

Some key findings:

  • The marijuana industry will remain diverse even as large corporations emerge. The Big Marijuana assertion “oversimplifies and stereotypes what is in reality a continuum of business scales and structures.”
  • The marijuana industry will evolve to look less like tobacco and more like alcohol, which is regulated mainly by states, has proven stable, and is “broadly acceptable” to the public.
  • With smart regulations, so-called Big Marijuana can have “advantages in terms of public accountability and regulatory compliance, product safety and reliability, market stability, and business professionalism.”
  • Policy should focus less on industry structure and more on preventing “harmful practices.” “Attempts to block corporatization are likely to backfire or fail.”