The Role of Big Corporations in the Banning of Cannabis for Financial Gain


January 21, 2023

Asif Khokhar



The ban on cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been a topic of controversy for decades. While some argue that the ban is necessary for public safety and to prevent addiction, others believe that it is a result of corporate interests and financial gain. In this article, we will examine the role that big corporations played in the banning of cannabis for financial gain.

One of the main reasons for the ban on cannabis was the fear that it would compete with other industries. The paper, timber, and cotton industries, in particular, were worried that hemp, a type of cannabis plant, would be used to make paper, clothing, and other products. These industries, along with the pharmaceutical industry, had a significant amount of influence in the government and were able to push for the criminalization of cannabis in the early 1900s.

Another reason for the ban was the fear that cannabis would lead to an increase in crime and violence. This fear was fueled by racist and xenophobic stereotypes about Mexican immigrants and African Americans, who were often associated with the use of cannabis. These stereotypes were used to justify the criminalization of cannabis and to target communities of color.

In addition to these reasons, the pharmaceutical industry also had a significant influence in the ban of cannabis. Pharmaceutical companies saw cannabis as a threat to their profits, as it had been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions. The criminalization of cannabis made it difficult for patients to access it for medicinal purposes and allowed pharmaceutical companies to continue to profit from synthetic drugs.

Despite the fact that cannabis has been proven to have medicinal benefits and that many states have legalized it for medicinal and recreational use, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I drug, which means that it is considered to have no medical value and a high potential for abuse. This classification has made it difficult for researchers to study the medical benefits of cannabis and has hindered progress in the field.

In conclusion, the ban on cannabis was not solely based on public safety concerns, but also on the financial gain of certain industries and corporations. The paper, timber, and cotton industries, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, had a significant influence in the government and were able to push for the criminalization of cannabis. This criminalization has led to a lack of access to medicinal cannabis and has hindered research in the field. It is important to recognize the role that corporate interests played in the ban on cannabis and to consider alternative approaches to drug policy that prioritize public health and safety over corporate profits.