There is speculation that the super secret labs of tobacco companies are currently developing the Marlboro of marijuana in preparation of the day when Uncle Sam steps out on to the White House lawn and announces the end, once and for all, to federal prohibition.
And while a recent report from The Chicago Tribune indicates that Big Tobacco has no immediate plans to capitalize on the legal marijuana revolution, it did reveal a devious scheme dating back to Richard Nixon’s dope-head declaration of War on Drugs, in which Philip Morris secretly worked with the government to get into the business of selling weed.
Letters published in the Milbank Quarterly shows that in 1969, Philip Morris vice president, H. Wakeman, was communicating with the United States Department of Justice in order to conduct marijuana research on behalf of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. However, as the letter points out, the tobacco company was not interested in making the arrangement public.
"We request that there be no publicity whatsoever," reads a letter written to Dr. Milton Joffee, with the Division of Drug Sciences. "We will provide the results to you on a confidential basis, and request that you not identify in the form of any public announcement where the work has been done."
In Dr. Joffe’s response, he divulges plans to assist Philip Morris in maintaining its anonymity, including clearance to bypass approval from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as plans to personally obtain government marijuana on behalf of the tobacco company.
Industry experts say the tobacco companies anticipated marijuana was on its way to legalization in the 1970s, but they did not anticipate the enormous shift in public opinion that would follow the Regan Administration. Now, most tobacco companies deny having any interested in the business of marijuana.
"Our companies have no plans to sell marijuana-based products," said David Sylvia, a spokesperson for Philip Morris in an interview with The Chicago Tribune. "We don't do anything related to marijuana at all."
Yet, while Big Tobacco’s sights on the marijuana industry were virtually nonexistent in the 1980s, there are documents that show R.J. Reynolds launched a cannabis research project in the 1990s. But, these days, a representative with the company says, “we are not pondering any expansion or involvement in that market, nor do we conduct any research into marijuana.”
We admit that Big Tobacco is not likely to get involved with the marijuana industry as long as legalization is only taking place a state level. However, the moment the feds legalize the leaf nationwide, we have full confidence the tobacco companies will launch marijuana brands, some of which have probably been lingering on a basement shelf for decades.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.