Close this search box.

Survey Finds “Americans Don’t Trust Big Tobacco, Alcohol, Or Pharma”

Past track records considered, people don’t think that the booze, pill, or smoke folks can “create good cannabis policy”

Over the past year, the Parabola Center for Law and Policy has focused on national cannabis legalization, and more specifically, keeping big abusive companies away from the inevitable feeding frenzy that will come when the federal floodgates finally open.

To that end, in 2023 the nonprofit think tank published a “toolkit to proactively fight cannabis monopolies.” And last week, Parabola released a survey on “American Values and Beliefs About Marijuana Legalization.”

The big finding: most people believe “cannabis legalization should benefit patients and workers.” “The research, conducted in collaboration with RTI International, an independent nonprofit research institute,” also “sheds light on who American adults believe should benefit from marijuana legalization and who they trust to create good cannabis policy.”

And it isn’t Budweiser. Key findings include:

  • More than half of American adults trust people with lived experience (67%) or who use marijuana (56%) to create good cannabis policy, but less than a quarter trust tobacco industry executives (18%), pharmaceutical industry executives (24%), or alcohol industry executives (13%) to do so. 

  • A majority of American adults believe that cannabis legalization should benefit medical patients (85%) and recreational users (63%), workers in the industry (73%), and people impacted by enforcement (61%), whereas only a minority thought benefits should accrue to pharmaceutical (40%), tobacco (28%) and alcohol (19%) companies, and large corporate actors (29%).

  • A majority of American adults believe that locally-owned businesses (57%) and small businesses (56%) should benefit from legalization. 

“Given their shameful history of putting profits above all else, Americans are right not to trust tobacco, alcohol, or pharmaceutical companies to shape marijuana policy. Policymakers should be wary of taking cannabis advice from their front groups,” Parabola Founder and Director Shaleen Title said in a statement. “Americans believe that people with firsthand insight about marijuana should be driving reform and that it should benefit patients, workers, and impacted communities most.”

Per Parabola, the “survey also revealed that social equity is one of the most important considerations for American adults when it comes to cannabis policy.” “Defined as ‘the idea that we should try to repair some of the harm caused by past enforcement of marijuana laws,’ social equity ranked highest among the concerns of those surveyed (68%), along with ending arrests (68%).”

Moving forward, “Parabola Center plans to release additional findings from an experiment conducted as part of the study, which shows promise for public education as a tool to promote policies that benefit small businesses and people who use cannabis.”