Who’s Behind Pot Prohibition? The Answer Is Obvious

Without a doubt the question I’m most often asked professionally is this: “Why is marijuana still illegal?”

The common inference behind this question is that there must be some behind the scenes cabal of Big Pharma, Tobacco, and Alcohol executives conspiring to keep cannabis illegal. By contrast, the real culprits behind pot prohibition are far more overt.

Law enforcement organizations — including cops, district attorneys, prosecutors, prison guard unions, sheriffs, and narcotics officers associations — remain the primary force working against sensible marijuana law reform.

Case in point? Look no further than these two egregious examples:

Los Angeles County D.A. prepares to crack down on pot outlets
via the Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley said Thursday he will prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries for over-the-counter sales, targeting a practice that has become commonplace under an initiative approved by California voters more than a decade ago.

“The vast, vast, vast majority, about 100%, of dispensaries in Los Angeles County and the city are operating illegally, they are dealing marijuana illegally, according to our theory,” he said. “The time is right to deal with this problem.”

Cooley and Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich recently concluded that state law bars sales of medical marijuana, an opinion that could spark a renewed effort by law enforcement across the state to rein in the use of marijuana. It comes as polls show a majority of state voters back legalization of marijuana, and supporters are working to place the issue on the ballot next year.

Even prior to the passage of California’s passage of Prop. 215, cannabis dispensaries — the same sort of dispensaries that D.A. Cooley now unilaterally defines as a “problem” — operated openly, and without incident, in L.A. County. Today, over 1,000 such operations exist in Los Angeles. District Attorney Cooley has now arbitrarily declared that “100%” of these dispensaries are acting illegally based not on a court decision, but rather on his own personal anti-pot bias.

Do a majority of public of L.A. county share D.A. Cooley’s view that open market, regulated medi-pot transactions are, in fact, a “problem?” Not at all. Does the will of the voters actually matter to their District Attorney? Not at all.

According to a separate story from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, D.A. Cooley “was one of dozens of guests at a recent conference … in which the topic was the ‘eradication of medical-marijuana dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County,’ according to a flier advertising the event hosted by the California Narcotics Officers’ Association.”

This, of course, would be the same California Narcotics Officers Association that just last month issued the white paper: “California Police Chiefs Association Position Paper on the Decriminalization of Marijuana.” You can read the entire position paper here (Have a potent anti-emetic handy!), but here’s some excerpts.

“Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, was passed by California voters in 1996 on a ballot initiative promoted by those who subscribe to the idea that all drug use should be legalized.”

“It has become clear, despite the claims of use by critically ill people that only about 2% of those using crude Marijuana for medicine are critically ill. [Editor’s note: Predictably, no statements, including this bogus percentage, are actually cited with any supporting documentation.] The vast majority of those using crude Marijuana as medicine are young and are using the substance to be under the influence of THC and have no critical medical condition. … Marijuana is being abused by people who have no serous medical condition and simply like to be intoxicated on Marijuana.”

“Marijuana as a smoked product has never proven to be medically beneficial and, in fact, is much more likely to harm one’s health.”

“The thought of decriminalizing Marijuana or allowing taxation of Marijuana is bewildering. The thought that a group of individuals would want to advocate for decriminalization of a substance that the state of California has deemed to be carcinogenic is alarming. [Editor’s note: Alcoholic beverages and aspirin — along with over 300 other substances — are also included on California’s Prop. 65 list of official carcinogens. I suppose the CNOA would argue that these substances ought to be illegal as well.]

“The use of intoxicating and addictive substances fuels crime and destroys lives by creating addiction and dependency. Children are victims of abuse and neglect at the hands of parents or caretakers who live in addiction. Young adults are particularly vulnerable to addiction. Relaxed attitudes toward drug use place them at greater risk of addiction. Clearly legalization of Marijuana will lead to great use by those who would not use if it were not legal. [Editor’s note: Virtually every study on this subject finds just the opposite outcome. You can read summaries from a couple dozen or so here, here, and here.] This increased use will lead to negative outcomes.”

“Much as we see in the use of other controlled substances, people who become addicted to Marijuana and cannot afford to maintain their addiction will turn to crime in order to supply themselves with their drug of choice.”

“Marijuana is not and never will be good for the success, education, and well-being of our society. When a person examines the two known abused drugs in our society, alcohol and tobacco, from a Public Health standpoint, those two substances would be recommended today to be banned. [Editor’s note: And apparently the CNOA would be in full support of such a ban.] The California Police Chiefs Association clearly understands that this will not occur. But, the discussion of Marijuana is important especially in light of the money being infused by the Drug Alliance [Editor’s note: Who are they?] and their ability to prey on unsuspecting compassionate people of our great state.”

Who is really behind marijuana prohibition. The answer should be obvious.

– Article from NORML on October 9, 2009.



  1. THC on

    I think you also have to look at the effects of ingestion as well. Marijuana has the unfortunate ability along with being a palliative to many ills of making one feel good. In nations influenced by “moral majorities” that would seem to be a one way ticket to hell. There would be fear underlying and motivating all the opposition from this particular viewpoint.

  2. Guy T on

    It’s about the MONEY!!!
    Regardless of what group or organization is behind keeping Marijuana illegal it is only about the money. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Marijuana itself does not destroy peoples lives, laws against marijuana destroys peoples lives. Big business, (including police drug agencies), care more about making money than supporting the rights of the individual.
    It’s about the MONEY!!!

  3. David Malmo-Levine on

    “Your day in Court must have been expired by now, and so now I’d be real interested about the results…”

    I get sentenced on Oct. 28th – Cannabis Culture will no doubt post the results on the home page.

    “Please tell me (us) where we can find some briefing of your experience…”

    Right here:


  4. Joe on

    legalize hemp farming. For them to keep saying it looks to much like marijuana so we must keep it ilegal. But Robin hood flower looks alot like cocaine so pushing hemp will be the fictory.

  5. Anonymous on

    Thanks David for the link, Great work like always, butteh… Your day in Court must have been expired by now, and so now I’d be real interested about the results…

    Please tell me (us) where we can find some briefing of your experience…

    Best regards; The Dutch guy.

  6. David Malmo-Levine on

    “There’s no gang members, pharmasist’s, or oil company representitives speaking out against marijuana law reform at a hearing”

    If you contribute millions of dollars to both the GOP and Democratic party, you don’t need to show up to the hearing – you own the people who are controlling the hearing.

    If people bothered to click on the links that I provided, they might have a better grasp of the relevant facts:

    “The forces keeping pot illegal are among the strongest in the world. They include the oil and petrochemical industries, liquor and tobacco companies, and the pharmaceutical industry. … the truth is legalizing hemp would restructure our national economy and put more money in the hands of American farmers, while devastating the petrochemical industry – the major source of world pollution. They have billions of dollars and all the thugs and narco cops on their side, but the truth is on our side. One day the truth will prevail.” -Steve Hagar, High Times publisher, Interview in High Times magazine, July 1990, (85)

    “But the reason the pro-marijuana lobby want marijuana legal has little to do with getting high, and a great deal to do with fighting oil giants like Saddam Hussein, Exxon and Iran. The pro-marijuana groups claim that hemp is such a versatile raw material, that its products not only compete with petroleum, but with coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, pharmaceutical, timber and textile companies. It is estimated that methane and methanol production alone from hemp grown as biomass could replace 90% of the world’s energy needs. If they are ight, this is not good news for oil interests and could account for the continuation of marijuana prohibition.”
    Hugh Downs ABC News, NY, 11/90: (86)

    “Why did they take it away? Because hemp is petroleum. It’s big business again.”
    Willie Nelson, 1991 (87)

    “Remember, there is a ‘THEY’ and ‘THEY’ ARE out to get you. ‘THEY’ are the petrochemical pharmaceutical military-industrial trans-national fascist corporate elite son-of-a-bitches. … the war against marijuana … the war against this natural plant is their attempt to keep the farmers, the people … and folks like you and me out of power ….”
    Gatewood Galbraith, “High Society” interview with David Malmo-Levine, Pot TV, 26
    Oct. 2001 (88)

    The anti-hemp team up to it’s same old tricks The Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) sponsors ads against cannabis use in any form, a great help to those who want the hemp-industry’s red tape to persist in Canada, and hemp prohibition to persist in the USA. The PDFA have many donors in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as all of the old anti-hemp team: Chevron and ExxonMobil (both previously Standard Oil), E.I.duPont de Nemours & Company, General Motors and even Ford (now turned to the dark side) all usually donate up to $30,000 per year Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan and Citibank sometimes provide up to $15,000 per year. (89)

    Election campaign contributions also ensure that hemp remains prohibited or over-regulated. The oil and gas industry donated $4,529,926 to the Bush presidential campaigns. The Automotive industry donated another $3,740,926. (90) From 1992-2002, energy-giant Enron contributed a total $3,021,108 to the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Bush-Quayle ‘92 and George W. Bush 2000. (91) Not that the Bush administration wasn’t already comfortable with the oil industry. Bush’s father – George Sr. – was once a Texas oilman. Dick Cheney, Bush’s VP, once ran Halliburton – the massive oil well construction and services corporation. Bush’s Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, worked at (Rockefeller’s) Chevron – they even named a tanker after her!

    CIA – Corruption In America

    In a land not very far away from here
    George W. Bush was drinkin beer
    His daddy was head of the CIA
    Now listen up close to what I say
    The CIA worked for Standard Oil
    And other companies to whom they’re loyal
    In a whole ‘nother land by the name of Iran
    The people got wise and took a stand
    to the oil companies, ay ain’t shit funny?
    This is our oil, our land, our money
    CIA got mad and sent false info
    to Iraq to help start the Iran/Iraq wo’
    The Coup, “Pick A Bigger Weapon”, 2006

    The Bush and Rockefeller clans have been working together for about 100 years, when in 1908 Samuel P. Bush (great-grandfather to the current president) took over the presidency of Buckeye Steel Casting company from Frank Rockefeller (brother of John D. Sr.). (92) Both families have provided members of Skull and Bones – the Yale fraternity that helped to start the CIA. (93) On Mike Ruppert’s website, a strong case is made that the CIA’s main job is to divert black-market drug money to Wall St. (94) I myself have a variation on that theory. I believe the CIA’s main job is to keep the oil companies in power by controlling drug profits and oil access. If they have to start wars (or in hemp’s case, keep wars going) in order to do this … it’s all part of the job.One last interesting fact about the CIA. James Woolsey, ex-head of the CIA, now sits on the board of the North American Industrial Hemp Council. (95)


  7. David on

    The only person I can think of that thought he was “hurt” by marijuana is that cop who made pot brownies with his wife, and then called 911 thinking he was dying haha.

  8. David on

    Are you serious? Have you been to a marijuana law reform hearing? The only people who go to speak against it is the police. There’s no gang members, pharmasist’s, or oil company representitives speaking out against marijuana law reform at a hearing. The police act like their doctors trying to convince state law makers they know the health effects of marijuana.

  9. James on

    If you want to understand the correct viewpoint when it comes to use of drugs. I would suggest reading Lysander Spooner’s Vices Are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty. While I understand where organizations like NORML and the like are coming from I believe they are absolutely wrong in believing that governments have the right to tell you what you may or may not do with your personal property (your body). To paraphrase Lysander from the above mentioned pamphlet. What man or what group of men have the right to say that we have tried this substance (whatever it may be) and have determined every question associated with it and hereby ban all other person from using this substance? Spooner called them knaves, blockheads, and scoundrels I like to call them politicians and bureaucrats.

  10. Johnny Pot Seed on

    I need to ask, Who has ever been hurt by marijuana? Who has ever gone to the hospital due to consumption of marijuana? Who has ever died from marijuana? When has anyone ever been harmed in any way shape or form from smoking marijuana? Where are all the victims? How can we prove marijuana is harmless? ( other than heated plant matter and some small ammounts of carcinogenics which can be negated by various forms ie; bongs, vaporizors.
    I have to quote Mr Cooly, “Marijuana as a smoked product has never proven to be medically beneficial and, in fact, is much more likely to harm one’s health.” Why does he have to use words such as, likely to harm ones health? Can anyone actually show proof without useing words such as “likely”

    Johnny Pot Seed

  11. Xcalibirthc on

    There are many great theories at to why this beloved plant is illegal, But it more likely a combination of many ideas. Doubtful for it to be just one source. Rather “One guy pushing, and four others holding.” I think it stared as a means of control, and and lots of sources wanted it controlled.

    What started with LIES will end with TRUTH!

  12. Anonymous on

    police + drug cartels + big oil = the unholy trinity of continued cannabis prohibition.

  13. Anonymous on

    This isn’t actually news is it? People who make who make a big part of their money from prohibition don’t want it to end. Hell it’s the one thing police and the drug cartels can agree on.

  14. David Malmo-Levine on

    The police are making billions of dollars enforcing cannabis prohibition. But big oil is making hundreds of billions of dollars selling hemp ethanol substitutes. I would seriously examine the connection of big oil to the origins of cannabis prohibition, and also examine how influential big oil (the Rockefeller family, the Mellon family etc etc) has been – and continues to be – on US politics.

    I recommend people check out the following websites I created on the topic of big oil and their hand in creating and maintaining cannabis prohibition: