But even more importantly, we have 26 states that have some form of legalized marijuana, whether it’s recreational or medicinal. That’s more than half of the states in the country and that’s the tipping point. When more states sign on, it’s inevitable [that it will be legalized federally].
Of course, for every state that has some form of legalized marijuana, there’s an equal and opposite group that wants to overturn those laws. They are trying to stop it, but I compare it to [trying to stop] a lava flow–you could stand in front of it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
What mark would you like to leave on the cannabis industry?
We are in the presence of it right now. Our national intoxicant is changing from liquor to marijuana and I think it’s so much better health-wise, and the effect it has on society vis-a-vis marital relationships, child relations, the insurance industry, etc. [is better, too]. If I could only choose between a beer and a joint for the rest of my life, I would choose a joint. And the Millennials, like my kids, are part of it. They grew up with their parents doing it, it’s just a matter of course.
– Story by Renée M. Covino
To read the full interview with Cheech, check out the September/October 2016 issue of Tobacco Business. Members of the tobacco industry are eligible for a complimentary subscription to the magazine. For details, click here.