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'Big Marijuana' lobbies against full pot legalization

July 28, 2013 at 4:11 PM

WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) -- The medical marijuana industry, sometimes called "Big Marijuana," is working to head off general legalization of marijuana in the United States, lobbyists said.

Officials with the billion-dollar industry say full legalization laws already on the books in Colorado and Washington state will hurt their business, Politico reported Saturday.

Activists are hoping to pass full legalization measures in six more states by 2016, including Maine, where medical marijuana is legal.

"The main objections came from the fact that the bill was not built around Maine's medical marijuana industry," Paul McCarrier, a lobbyist for the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, told Politico. "Philosophically, we're not opposed to the decriminalization of marijuana, but the devil is in the details."

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says Big Marijuana is only concerned with money.

"There are people who are benefiting financially and would prefer to see nothing change that," NORML spokesman Erik Altieri said. "NORML believes the only way to truly ensure access for those patients who need cannabis for medical purposes is to legalize its use for all adults. This will provide every adult safe and convenient access to quality cannabis, regardless of whether or not their state legislators think their specific condition 'qualifies.'"

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