You hear it all the time from people on both sides of the cannabis legalization argument: the big corporations are going to swoop in and take over the cannabis industry as it moves into the legal market.
Fear of the free market is drilled into us by our public schools. We fear corporations and embrace government, even though monopolies are not possible without government acceptance and intervention. The hallmark of the free market is competition. Do big companies have an advantage? Of course, they can make a product more efficiently and on a larger scale. But if a big company falters — barring a government bailout — there will be a dozen smaller companies there ready to take their market share.
The fear of “big marijuana” comes specifically from the reality of “big tobacco.” Big tobacco lied to us for years about the cancer-causing propensity of their cigarettes. The theory goes that big tobacco will inject their marijuana with addictive and cancer-causing properties and have a cartoon camel sell it. And if not big tobacco, then some other evil corporation will swoop in and destroy cannabis; think Walmart brand strains with little American flags and a picture of Sam Walton on the package.
In my opinion these fears are overblown — after all, many of us shop at Walmart with no qualms whatsoever, and somehow the economy grinds on — but beyond that, cannabis is very different from most other commodities for one simple reason: it can be grown at home.
If you want a cell phone, you can’t make one at home. The same goes for a blender and tens of thousands of other products that we buy. But high quality cannabis can be grown at home. It can be expensive if you do it indoors, but cost is relative; look at what you’re creating. A healing medicine. A safe, recreational relaxant.
There will be big marijuana companies, that’s just the way the market works. The best rise to the top. But if you choose, you never have to give those companies a dime for their weed.