The term 'big marijuana' is thrown around a lot these days. Kevin Sabet uses that term to try to scare voters. Longtime marijuana veterans often use the term to describe what they don't want the growing marijuana industry to become because it will push out the little guy. People often offer up the tobacco industry and Wal-Mart, and other large industries and companies, as reasons why big marijuana should be avoided at all costs.
I certainly don't want to see the 'Wal-Mart of weed' becoming a reality. And I absolutely don't want to see the tobacco industry supported by marijuana consumers, considering how horrible they have been with their business practices throughout the years. No company in the marijuana industry should be supported if they put profit in front of people's health like the tobacco industry, or treat their employees like crap like Wal-Mart. With that being said, just because something is bigger doesn't mean that it's bad.
The example that I always offer up is the company Dr. Bronner's. Dr. Bronner's is a very large company, selling their products all over the world. Their business practices are excellent, and anyone that I have ever talked to that is tied to the company sounds like they are loving life in every way. The company does so many things to help the world that it's almost impossible to list all of them, and the product that they sell is very earth conscience. It's the only soap I use, and as someone who has sensitive skin, I can say first hand that their products are the best I've ever tried.
As I said in the title of this article, 'big marijuana' in itself does not scare me. 'Big marijuana' done the wrong way absolutely scares me. The marijuana industry has a chance to be different than any other industry out there. The marijuana industry can (and already is in a lot of ways) treat all people fairly, regardless of their gender, age, race, etc.. The marijuana industry can give back to the world in a very meaningful way. Successful marijuana companies can change minds that wouldn't otherwise be changed, and bring a level of legitimacy to the marijuana movement that non-business pursuits can't. It's not the way I would want it, since I fight because it's the right thing to do and not for money, but it is what it is for a lot of people that don't care about their heartstrings being tugged.
Marijuana entrepreneurs can practice social entrepreneurship, using their business success to give back to their local communities and worthwhile causes. Just like Dr. Bronner's, these companies can reap the benefits of industry and commerce, and use that success to do amazing things to help the world. That is what I have always envisioned for this blog if/when it ever goes to the next level and becomes a strong business. Of course, if it doesn't, I'll still be here doing what I can to spread awareness and the message of activism, but I have always daydreamed about doing more if we ever obtained the resources to do it. You have to get it to give it as they say.
Again, 'big marijuana' in itself is not a bad thing. It all just depends on they type of 'big marijuana' that happens. If marijuana companies put profit above all else, than they are not better than any other big business that is hurting this country by not paying livable wages, getting around tax liabilities in anyway they can, and dragging down the local economy, all the while putting the hardworking little business owner out on the street. That would be very, very sad. However, if the opposite happened, and 'big marijuana' followed in the footsteps of companies like Dr. Bronner's, truly amazing things could happen.
What do TWB readers think? Do you think that 'big marijuana' is always bad, no matter what, period? Or do you think that it's possible to be a 'big marijuana' company and still maintain the core values that the marijuana reform community has always stood for? I look forward to reading your comments.