Capitalizing on the Cannabis Craze

As I type this, Montana’s legislature is in the midst of an ugly battle over the future of our state’s now famous “medical marijuana” law–which some are attempting to do away with altogether.  Meanwhile, others claim their bills proposing to make the law virtually impossible for anybody even with a (severely limited) qualifying condition to comply with are some type of “reasonable compromise.”

On the other side of the debate are, obviously, the dreaded cannabis users.  Godless heathens who seem to worship this plant as being some divine healing force of nature.  Who, somehow, seem to have convinced scientists all over the world to publish study after study attesting to the various healing powers of this “devil weed.”

Below is a clip from a recent PBS special “The Science of Cannabis:

Now, practically overnight, the “potheads” have created a billion dollar industry which employs over 1,400 people in this state alone.  A statistic I learned from reading a recent New York Times article discussing the ongoing attempt by certain Montana lawmakers to destroy a booming local industry.

All good news for the people of Montana who need affordable access to safe and effective medicine, but bad news for the pharmaceutical companies who have already made billions (or perhaps trillions) selling their patented pills.

The entire landscape of modern medicine is changing drastically as the cannabis plant continues showing unprecedented potential for all types of medical applications.  Pharmaceutical companies are watching their market shares erode as more and more people are choosing natural medicines including cannabis.  And, as any good herbalist will tell you, cannabis is far from the only plant certain pharmaceutical companies would rather you didn’t know exist..

Here in my hometown of Missoula, MT, there has already been a thriving cannabis culture for decades.  Thanks to a state law and federal memorandum sanctioning the use of cannabis as medicine, that extensive part of our city’s culture has emerged a bit from the shadows.

Due to the large number of people who have recently signed up for and gotten their “medical marijuana” cards, the entire industry along with all industries directly associated with the “medical marijuana” community are experiencing a economic boon reminiscent of the old gold rushes which swept through the west once before.

Billions of dollars have already been spent to expand this legal industry throughout Montana and 14 other states, plus the District of Columbia.  Millionaires have already been made, while people in need are gaining access to medicine which in many cases is far safer and more effective than any pharmaceutical offerings.

Among those trying to capitalize on the current cannabis craze, pharmaceutical companies are perhaps the biggest players doing the most damage.  Or, perhaps we should all be thanking them for effectively ending the failed prohibition of cannabis:  they have actually convinced the DEA to reschedule all synthetic and otherwise patented derivatives of the cannabis plant from a “schedule I narcotic” down to a “schedule III drug”.  Indicating THC and other types of cannabinoids have significant medical value and proven safety.

The plant itself, however, has again been determined to have absolutely no medical value or proven safety record–despite the mountains of irrefutable evidence to the contrary.  A move so bold, it may finally topple the applecart that is our War on the Poor. (The term “War on Drugs” was officially discontinued, ironically because Gil Kerlikowske didn’t want to give the impression we are waging war against our own citizens..)

Many have said this type of behavior is typical of our government these days.  Something to be ignored as taboo, not to be dealt with by our feeble and twisted minds.  Democracy here in the U.S. is unquestionably a joke anyway; but the rest of the world no longer seems to be laughing as we plunder along, immersed in our never-ending wars.

They are revolting all over the world, rebuking America’s federal government in the process.  Even here at home, in Wisconsin and throughout the midwest, people are finally standing up against the vested interests struggling to maintain their control over a typically docile, undereducated and overworked populace.

The information age has left middle-class Americans feeling both empowered and infuriated with the state of politics today.  Disconnected politicians and CEO’s colluding to further disenfranchise hard-working Americans, on display every day 24/7 via the internet and Comedy Central.  An unmistakable recipe for political upheaval and meaningful change.

While some have used advanced social media technologies to develop vast gaming networks and fantasy football leagues, others like the late Jack Herer (author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes and legendary godfather to cannabis activists everywhere) used social media technologies including Facebook to help educate people and create powerful networks of dedicated activists capable of finally ending cannabis prohibition altogether.

In my city and a growing number of others like it, there is now a thriving small business in many of the storefronts which were empty a short year ago.  By paying their local caregivers to grow their chosen medication instead of paying pharmaceutical giants for pills every month, these roughly 30,000 Montanans (of which I am proud to be one) are proving sustainability and prosperity are mutually beneficial and tangible goals.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that certain factions of the other 96.8% of Montana’s population appear to be a bit jealous of my newfound freedom and independence from a health care system gone mad.  It seems like such an odd notion even to myself, however I can’t help feeling grateful for the painful arthritis and allergy to opiates which helped to put me in this confounded, envied and often vilified position.

Another intriguing cannabis study I recently came across, published by the University of Saskatchewan in 2009, shows conclusive evidence that cannabis actually increases brain cell formation in rats.  Here’s a quick clip of an article found at

“..It turns out, this synthetic THC-like compound actually INCREASED the rate of brain cell formation in the hippocampus (neurogenesis) by a whopping FORTY PERCENT!

Not only did the rate of brain cell formation INCREASE, but the rats also appeared to be less susceptible to observable symptoms of anxiety and depression. The hippocampus is the area of a mammals brain that controls memory, learning, anxiety and depression. So it makes sense that increased brain cell formation in this area of the brain would prove to be beneficial for people suffering from problems associated with these brain functions.

Meanwhile, when you compare these POSITIVE neurological effects of marijuana with the neurological effects of other LEGAL recreational drugs such as nicotine and alcohol, you find that nicotine and alcohol actually DECREASE brain cell formation…”

Which got me to thinking: if a pharmaceutical company were to somehow harness the legendary creative potential of cannabis in a pill, would it look a little something like this?

For more information on how to help end the failed policies of prohibition altogether, please visit and show your support for the folks at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition–who, thanks to an engaged and informed audience, got President Obama to finally address the elephant in the room:


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