The Devil’s Playbook MEETS Big Weed in 420 reveals

The cannabis industry follows the devil’s playbook on a daily basis in states that have legalized it.  After much trial and error,  Colorado may put caps on its pot industry.

Two New Exposés of Big Weed

On April 20, Kevin Sabet’s new book, Smokescreen, went on sale across the country.  The publisher picked a symbolic date, 420.    In 2018, Sabet began to hear from whistleblowers, including Colorado regulators forced by higher-ups to look away.  (Disclaimer: Sabet would not endorse the title of this blog, as we tend to be harder-edged than he is.)

Producer and Director Sean Morrow, a journalist with NOW THIS News covered Big Weed in his podcast recorded on April 20. Morrow typically looks at the funders of political, corporate, and lobbying interests, part of a series called “Who is.”  (Now This News brands itself as a progressive news source targeting millennials.)

For the 420 podcast, Morrow interviewed Shaleen Title, Beau Kilmer, and Emily Dufton. These interviews reveal that the social justice reasons for the public’s support of legalization.  The social justice aims failed everywhere, and the corporate takeover of Big Weed happened quickly. Mega-capitalist billionaires like Charles Koch and George Soros support the policy.

Beau Kilmer, a professor and policy expert, explained that legalization could have been done a lot differently.  He also warned that we have to watch out for the public health effects, something lacking in the discussion among legalizers.

In concluding the podcast, Morrow interviewed Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly. Peoples-Stokes explains her pipe dream for weaving social justice and wealth-creation opportunities into New York’s legalization program.

SAFE Banking Act would enthrone Big Weed

Morrow’s podcast clarifies how, if the government allows interstate marijuana commerce, a complete corporate takeover will follow.  (We must not pass the SAFE Banking ACT which will codify this monopoly.)

In that 420 podcast, Kilmer implies that a few massive, industrial marijuana farms would serve the industry most efficiently.

Sabet’s and Morrow’s exposés show simple misinterpretations led to massive changes

The Ogden Memo of 2009 states the Justice Department’s policy of marijuana prosecution on a case-by-case basis in medical marijuana states. The policy didn’t change from the George W. Bush Administration, but interpretations of it changed. Marijuana expansionists used the memo as an excuse to expand medical marijuana, especially in Colorado and California.  Sabet explains his shock in the book.

Rob Corry, the principal writer of the ballot to legalize marijuana in Colorado, answered questions for Sabet recently, in a Facebook interview.  Corry now admits that Colorado’s 2012 legalization ballot caused massive problems of unlimited potency and marketing to children. He said that Colorado doesn’t “regulate marijuana like alcohol,” although the legalization campaign used that slogan.  Last Tuesday, he spoke in favor of the bill to curb the marijuana industry.  It passed out of committee by a 13-0 vote, with Speaker of the Alec Garnett sponsoring it.  About 30 or more parents testified in a hearing lasting eight hours.  A coalition of many groups came forward for the bipartisan bill, including Smart Colorado.

Although corporate takeover of weed was built into the legalization policies, not everyone realized that Big Tobacco and alcohol companies would become some of the biggest beneficiaries. Marijuana is not a humane or compassionate industry; Corry explains what we’ve always known — that it’s more corrupt than most industries.

Tying social justice to marijuana legalization

Morrow talks to Dufton and Title about how Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book, The New Jim Crow,  pinned mass incarceration on low-level,  nonviolent drug crimes. The book didn’t explain that plea bargaining and parole violations greatly enhanced her statistics.  (Two other law professors, James Forman of Yale and John Pfaff of Fordham, dispute Alexander’s claims and tie mass incarceration to reasons other than drugs.)

In the book, Alexander endorsed the legalization of all drugs.  Again, a simple assertion led the legalizers to claim that marijuana legalization could produce criminal justice reform. To legalizers, reform means getting rid of all drug laws, but to groups like and, criminal justice reform means revisions such as eliminating mandatory minimums.

In 2019, Now This taped AOC expressing disgust that minorities — hit hard by “The War on Drugs”— have no equity in marijuana companies.  The US ended the term, “War on Drugs,” 12 years ago, but the Drug Policy Alliance still uses it.  We prefer Dr. Bertha Madras’ explanation of drug prevention:  It’s “not a war on drugs, but the defense of our brains.”

Three more books, one coming out in July

Kevin Becker’s Whoa Dude was written by a neuroscientist — for marijuana users.   He hopes the book can lead them to better understand marijuana and reconsider their use of this drug. 

In “The Devil’s Playbook,” to be published on May 25, author Lauren Etter exposes the marketing of vaping to teens and the subsequent backlash against the vaping industry.  It will be interesting to see how much Etter mentions THC vaping, which was involved in 82% of cases of EVALI, the vaping lung disease, according to the CDC.

Laura Stack’s book, The Dangerous Truth about Today’s Marijuana, will be released on July 10. She chose the date to reflect on 710, the unofficial “holiday” for dabbing marijuana, the method of marijuana use preferred by her son Johnny and so many other Colorado kids. Johnny died at age 19.  He obtained a medical marijuana card so easily, and age 18.  Laura and her husband also testified at the Colorado statehouse on May 18.  If it passes, the new law would require two doctors to sign off on medical marijuana for 18-20-year-olds. 


Tying marijuana legalization to social justice was always quite a stretch; it hasn’t worked in any state. The marijuana industry creates quick money, but it does not create intergenerational wealth.

Another problem lost to Morrow and the legalizers is that marijuana can leave a person with mental illness and permanent brain damage.  Legalizers don’t notice it,  or they won’t discuss how pot stores bring communities down.

Currently, the goal of legalizers is to pass nationwide legalization as fast as possible, before the damages become obvious to everyone.