Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal

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Legalize Marijuana . . . says Big Tobacco?

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Let’s suppose, for a moment, that Californians vote in favor of legalizing marijuana — a ballot initiative doing precisely that awaits the Golden State this November.

The industry winners?

Well, that’s kind of obvious. Think head shops. Plus any business that sells munchies and Pink Floyd CD’s.

Oh, and a whole lotta happy celebrity stoners.

And the losers?

Well, that too is kinda obvious.

When people spend their dollars on joints instead of cigarettes, the big loser is Big Tobacco, right?

Wrong.

As Bruce Watson writes over at AOL’s Daily Finance, tobacco companies have a financial stake in the marijuana industry — in ways you might not know.

— Rolling papers. Republic Tobacco company owns both Top and Job rolling papers; Zig Zags, a French brand, is sold through National Tobacco.

— Blunts. Britain’s Imperial Tobacco Company owns Phillies cigars, a brand that’s popular among cannabis   consumers, who like to empty out the Phillies’ tobacco leaf and refill it with marijuana.

So perhaps the right, which cares not for legalized pot, tries a different spin this fall when the debate over legalized marijuana, er, heats up. And that message: don’t vote for the measure, it only will put more money in the pockets of the tobacco industry.

Meanwhile, in other California marijuana news, Los Angeles District Attorney and Republican Attorney General hopeful Steve Cooley is trying to put pressure on the man he hopes to replace, Jerry Brown, to reject the initiative’s title and summary.

Here’s a good rundown on Cooley’s argument against

Question: how many serious candidates for governor, U.S. Senate or AG (and by “serious”, I mean an actual chance of winning) will endorse this initiative?

I’m guessing: not a one.

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Written by Bill Whalen

April 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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