Back in the day, the idea was to decriminalize marijuana. Smokers could get their stash from small-time dealers, with much of the stuff homegrown, and nobody would be prosecuted. That, in any case, was the pipe dream.
But somehow, the pot crusade morphed into full-blown legalization, which was followed by corporatization. And now, of course, the corporate guys are screwing up what was once a nice, modest thing.
And so we have everything from payoffs to politicians for coveted locations of pot shops, to Russian kleptocrats getting in on the game. The New York Times recently reported that Curaleaf, one of America’s biggest cannabis companies, is owned and financed by Russian oligarchs.
One of the major Russian players, Andrey Kukushkin, along with three associates, was recently indicted for trying to bribe local officials to help them obtain necessary permits. And two of his confederates were associates of … wait for it … Rudy Giuliani.
That would be the same Rudy Giuliani who as New York’s U.S. Attorney and then tough-on-crime mayor was infamous for locking up small-time users and dealers.
By now, it’s pretty clear that corporate capitalism is capable of wrecking whatever it touches, Exhibit A being the internet, which also used to be a nice thing. The tobacco guys invented e-cigarettes, which then became the vaping craze, hooking another generation on an even more toxic version of nicotine.
Ah, the corporations. They’ll stone you when you’re trying to be so good.
Can’t we please keep a small piece of the counterculture?