Ask NORML: McDonald's, Monsanto, and Phillip Morris! Oh My!

NORML’s youtube channel, NORMLtv, recently launched a new video series entitled ‘Ask NORML,’ which features NORML staff answering questions submitted by you — the marijuana law reform activist.
On this week’s installment, Executive Director Allen St. Pierre makes his debut to discuss the anxiety surrounding a potential corporate takeover of marijuana commerce after legalization.

Subscribe to NORMLtv and visit NORML’s Facebook page for announcements regarding future ‘Ask NORML’ episodes and how you can have your questions answered by NORML. Also stay tuned to NORMLtv for periodic episodes of ‘NORML Update,’ which feature video highlights from NORML affiliated events around the nation.
Get active; get NORML!
Next Week on NORMLtv – NORML@40, looking back on the four decade fight with the man who started it all, Keith Stroup.

32 thoughts

  1. Did you hear? Drug Czar Kerlikowske will be flying, on our tax dollars, to The Seattle Times in Washington to discuss their recent support for House Bill 1550 (Legalizes marijuana). No surprise here, right? I mean, it is in his job description ( But, there is something weird: this is our government attempting to influence our 1st amendment rights. That’s why we’re calling for The Seattle Times to have video coverage of this event. Petition here:

  2. I noticed a very good service at norml event they were offering strains like grand daddy purp and querkle and other strain mail order saying they have perfected the packaging and shipping methods, sure enough I gave them a try and WOW very impressive. they are contactable through

  3. As the wall we know as prohibition continues to crumble it is no surprise that the ONDCP is making desperate attempts to stop free press on the subject of lifting prohibition. They know that once any state makes cannabis legal the rest of the world will follow. A true domino effect. Thanks to the Seattle paper and NORML I might see legal cannabis and industrial hemp in my life.

  4. I don’t get it
    I agree with the statements about marijuana prices dropping from what today’s black market prices are.
    BUT…when I questioned this video here on this site I was insulted and censored.
    This is Keith Stroup telling MA state legislators that even though legal marijuana would cost $35 an oz to produce it should cost $500 an oz.Why was I insulted and censored for believing it should not cost that much when the director of NORML is saying the same thing?

    [Editor’s note: Again, for the umpteenth time, Mr. Stroup did not suggest cannabis SHOULD cost $500 an ounce. His reply to the question asked by the elected official in MA of why would someone pay a lot of money for cannabis is, historically under Cannabis Prohibition, clearly accurate: ‘Consumers today pay between $300-$600 for a ounce of high grade cannabis…’, not that $500 should be the price of one ounce of cannabis.]

  5. It’s gratifying to hear such common sense commentary on the likely price of marijuana in a legal market. As little as 2-3 years ago I was ridiculed on other sites for making the same points–good quality pot is absurdly inexpensive to grow outdoors and prices absurdly high, even for very good quality buds. And the observation that the much maligned Mexican brick has greatly improved over the years was met with derision.
    Even on this site some, albeit more politely, were very skeptical that a person could grow all they need in their yard for virtually nothing. Many felt that it was just too difficult when, in fact, the plant grows like a weed in a variety of climes. Yes, the more attention and care one gives, the better, but I’ve had very good plants grow with just with simple watering and occasional shots of fertilizer.
    So thanks, Allen, for bringing these facts to the attention of those in the activist community who may still find it hard to believe how inexpensive marijuana would be in a legal-as-alcohol-and-tobacco world.

  6. Well, I’ve read Gettman’s article on creating legalization in High Times.
    Well, I’ve also read about Kerlikowski’s carpetbagger visit to Seattle, and commented on it at MPP.’s-pro-legalization-editorial/02252011/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogmpp+%28MPP+Blog%29
    I also must commend Allen on his commentary.
    Kudos, Allen.
    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There need to be regional conferences inviting academic and nonacademic proposals for legalizing at the state and local level in states neighboring a particular geographical area, as well as how to integrate this at the federal level. Physically this is a daunting task that will simply waste pro-legalization reform group money if done too soon brick and mortar style, so it might be best begun online. This begs the question as to which organization(s) will devote some of their webspace, and then to create first the format fields for people to fill in to submit their proposals for legalization at the various level and in the various geographic areas. Given the format, it should allow people to upload word processing files in Word. Each of John Gettman’s questions could be areas/HTML fields for the proposal format.
    We should use the braintrust out there amongst the reformers and legalizers who want to remain anonymous, both laymen and those of higher stand in academia and business.
    You know what I mean. Please look into this. It could be another feather in Gettman’s and other’s cap to have him or a committee he is on review it, take the best of everybody’s ideas and refine things.

  7. Very good analysis. What I think was left out is that there will still be the higher end product (just as mentioned in the wine analogy). Many if not most people will by the GMO, chemical sprayed, Monsanto/Marlboro brand. But, there will still be a niche for high quality product. This is not tobacco. I personally would pay more for known organically grown, non-GMO, heirloom / special cultivar that would not be cost effective for larger manufactures to produce.

  8. All I want to know is what stocks to buy in to before the full legalization and the explosion of this industry hits the legit walstreet market .

  9. I too have been questioned why I felt the price of pot was way too high and that it shouldn’t be when in reality a large outdoor grow could yield hundreds of pounds and cost only pennies per OZ to produce. I do believe that we will see a wine type of market when we legalize because their will be a high demand for better and better products and having a model like wine that has everything from the $5 bottle with the screw top, to thousands of dollars for a very rare import wine. I like that thought.
    I dont like people, fellow cannabis consumers, profiting huge amounts off the backs of their fellow consumers due to the same law that at one time was held over their heads as well. We should be a strong grounded group willing to go to bat for our fellow consumers and remain fair and honest with each other as we build this cannabis empire. If we dont greed and corruption will tear us apart like it has with everything in the USA, because profit overwhelms the people involved and destroys the community it serves.

  10. @David You can buy stocks now: Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA), I’m saving up my pennies to buy in.
    You can also get into The Hemp Network, which is free and a division of Medical Marijuana, Inc. Their products are organic, fair-trade hemp related 🙂
    We have to keep hemp and cannabis gmo free!!!

  11. negotiations with the goverment has failed..labor is failed..wars all over..neighbors against neighbors..gas prices surging on prices surging..grab your bag say goodbye to your boss and just smoke your joint,,screw it ..the rich hold the bag..they fix the’s all about the money..but guess what the money doesnt matter,..happiness and family matter so stop thinking about changing it wont change..ACT fire it up and when they test you positive and test another couple million positive..they will have no choice but to change policy..string those suckers up REVOLUTION !!

  12. I agree with Tommas. I refuse to buy GMO anything, let alone my Cannabis. We Cannabis consumers are a different breed of people, we do Cannabis because we are health-conscious people. Screw Monsanto!!!

  13. What I can’t figure out is this idea of mass produced weed being shwag.
    I doubt that highly. I think big business would offer a variety of strains and would breed some good stuff for us. The same as tobacco companys using different blends of tobacco for unique tastes, bud would be consistant from pack to pack and unique from brand to brand (at least that is my guess).

  14. Enforce antimonopoly and labeling laws- End of story. There is no need for regulations outside of this with respect to this specific industry.
    Look at Tobacco…this product would be completely different if there were simply strict labeling laws. Cancer rates would be substantially lower as non-radioactive, friendly additive tobacco would dominate the market. The combustion byproducts,(which include nitrosamines) are a relatively insignificant component of the whole health issue. I challenge someone to find increased disease rates in the shamans who smoke copious amounts of very strong tobacco. Theirs is not radioactive; their cancer rates are low and their longevity is greater than the average in their local populations.
    Eliminating subsidies for large businesses will also go a long way too as most monopolies are inherently unstable thereby requiring external support that usually comes in the form of laws and force.
    Additionally, reinstate a real tax structure with no loopholes that makes it effectively impossible to accumulate obscene amounts of wealth. You know, like the tax rates we had in the 50’s.
    Another thing that could be done is to strip corporations (or any form of business) of their personhood status. This would make it legal to restrict their speech to empirical facts (contemporarily understood of course). All the sparkly, feel good advertisements aimed at emotional/intellectual manipulation would effectively be barred (this would be awesome!). Free speech only applies to individuals independent of their socioeconomic status. If the well moneyed want to be heard, they can go stand outside the state/federal office like the rest of us. Freedom of press does not mean freedom to make things up. Freedom of press should be restricted to verifiable empirical claims only. Opinions of individuals/groups must be clearly labeled as such. If the facts are not clear, that must be stated in a manner that any idiot can understand.
    In any case, I find these large businesses to be a threat only because they are being used as an alternative to the monarchies of the past. If they give up the power to compel and establish objective standards for hiring based on ability to perform (none of this hiring your buddies and their buddies only or considering any attributes outside of the jobs openly stated tasks).

  15. I have said the same thing before. Why is medical marijuana prices the same as black market prices. Those farms in California have a monopoly. The sooner there out of business the better!

  16. @ #8; [Editor’s note: …the question; WHY would someone pay a lot of money for (legal, cheap to produce) cannabis ?? WHY ??
    Mr. Stroup’s reply; they pay $300 to $600 an ounce.

    that answer makes NO SENSE AT ALL.
    that does not answer the question asked.
    if the question was “HOW MUCH do they pay NOW ?”;
    then “$300 to $600 an ounce” would be a good answer.
    the only way Mr. Stroup’s reply makes any sense AT ALL, is in the following context;
    they currently pay $300 to $600 an ounce,
    that is what they are accustomed to paying.
    that’s what the market will bear.
    so if that’s what they are willing to pay,
    let’s just keep these prices in effect.
    Q; WHY would someone pay a lot of money for (legal, cheap to produce) cannabis ?? WHY ??

  17. Tax & Regulate = Monsanto, GMO, McDonalds, Phillip Morris, Big Pharma, and no freedom
    We need REAL legalization. Not this watered down NORMLized government catering tax & regulate bend-over plan they so often talk about.
    I’d rather take my chances with decriminalization, but still illegal, than let our government REGULATE marijuana for me. Nooooooo thank you.
    [Editor’s note: Bend over plan? OK…In your world view unless you’re a ‘I hate any government regulations’ you’re in favor of being raped? Listen, if you want, you can continue to support and endorse the taxpayer-funded arrests of 800,000 cannabis consumers annually, continue to support the criminal black market, don’t address the problems associated with NOT legalizing cannabis (drug testing, forfeiture, road blocks, children access, no taxes for society, no industrial hemp, no medical cannabis, cannabis consumers losing their driver’s licenses [including CDL and other professional cannabis consumers; ie, nurses, military personnel, etc…) all to hold out for some kind of Ayn Rand-inspired ‘libertarian’ fantasy of ‘no regulations…I’m my own island…blah-blah-blah’.
    Cannabis is a mildly psychotropic drug. To think that it will be ‘legalized’ sans sensible regulations is delusional.]

  18. A couple of things:
    1) The prediction that since indoor cannabis costs $1 per gram to produce, it will sell for $1 per gram at market (which is what $28-$30/ounce works out to) doesn’t make much sense. Yes, the profit margin will drop dramatically, but it won’t disappear completely. Plus, in a legitimate market — taxes and above-the-table payroll and insurance and marketing and whatever else — production costs would undoubtedly raise. With higher production costs and a profit margin similar to what we see with alcohol or tobacco, my guess is that an ounce of high-quality product wouldn’t end up selling for much less than 100 bucks or so.
    2) I think the comparison to the wine market is perfect. Everything from 2-buck chuck to world-class vintages. And money to be made in every single niche. We should stop pretending like nobody will be able to make an honest buck growing good weed anymore. Nobody has a “right” to 1000% profit margins.

  19. When I need a medicine – I want “the best medicine’ I can get – not “the best lie” government can tell me. When government prohibits me from getting that medicine – I have absolutely no problem whatsoever relieving government of their governance. That is to say: “I don’t give a fiddler’s damn about their law, their badge, their black robe, or the their four gray walls that would surround me. If government can’t/won’t recognize our needs/demands for “the best medicine” we can get – they [government], very simply, need to be removed and replaced – how simple is that.

  20. P.S. to 24
    If big pharma thinks that they can win in a pharmaceutical bake off with God – well! – that just goes to show ya how arrogant they are. God has put a complete non-competition clause on his Sacrament as a medicine. Good luck with that Big Pharma and what are you smoking?

  21. Well Ask not what your country can do for us. Ask what we can do for our country. I wonder if George and Thomas had semilar thoughts sitting on they’re horses tokin.
    Might ask Keith if he feels his soul twisting in him because of the truth.

  22. I bet the stock market is rocking and rolling, Ansinger is dead and rotting away along with Nixon and Reagen.
    What about Obama?

  23. Small growers will be able to seek the kind of special rules that other small businesses often get from government.
    For example, special tax rates favor small alcohol producers. The general federal rate for beer is $18 per 31 gallon barrel, but brewers who produce less than 2 million barrels annually pay only $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels.
    A similar rule benefits wine businesses that produce no more than a quarter million gallons a year: on the first 100,000 gallons, they pay a drastically reduced tax rate.
    Lower licensing fees for small businesses are also common.
    But special rules for small producers may not be enough even to level the playing field, that is, to make up for economies of scale. It’s doubtful that special rules would be robust enough to create an advantage for small producers.
    But none of this will happen automatically. Small growers will have to get involved in the political process and to ask politicians for this kind of special rule.

  24. 30 Pat Oglesby
    Big Pharma and its tentacles will own cannabis. The plant itself will be federally illegal for any reason – and no one will be able to grow it. The only legal way to obtain it will be a pill – and – it won’t be easy to get a prescription.

  25. Taking away one of the only ways for poor people to get ahead in this world and turning it over to the rich is criminal. Anti establishment types started this as a way to not be involved in a criminal government and live a life apart from the NORML crazies. That looks like it is all ending now and the rich will get there way again. Congratulations NORML. A lot of us didn’t get rich. we got by.

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