New Pot Fight: Medical vs. Full Legalization

'Big Marijuana' will lose money if it becomes legal everywhere

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 27, 2013 10:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – The pro-marijuana movement has gotten big enough to have its own internal rift. Politico takes a look at an unlikely pair of enemies—the medical marijuana camp versus the full-legalization camp. The main reason comes down to simple economics: Medical marijuana is now a lucrative, growing industry in 18 states—think of it as "Big Marijuana"—but it won't be anymore if legalization becomes the law of the land, as it has already in Washington state and Colorado. If anyone can get pot anywhere, why would they need to visit medical dispensaries?

That helps explain why the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine joined a host of more typical anti-marijuana groups this spring in opposition to a legalization measure on the ballot. Two pro and con quotes on the rift:

  • “There are people who are benefiting financially and would prefer to see nothing change that,” says a member of the pro-legalization group NORML.
  • But don't be too judgmental of the medical groups, says another activist. “We’re taking about people who have risked their freedom and liberty and faced the threat of criminal penalties to open these businesses to meet the needs of the public.”
Click to read about another marijuana milestone of sorts happening this weekend.

This file photo shows different strains of marijuana on display during the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market. It sells medical marijuana products.
This file photo shows different strains of marijuana on display during the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market. It sells medical marijuana products.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
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