The New York Times got a few things wrong about the cannabis industry…

Last week, the New York Times ran an editorial piece with the headline, “Do We Really Want a Microsoft of Marijuana?”

The author of the report, Christopher Caldwell, opines that the SAFE Banking Act would disproportionately help giant operators at the expense of smaller companies. That, in turn, would usher in a dystopian future in which multinational businesses develop new flavors and products to turn America’s children into a nation of potheads.

I read a lot of wrong-headed news and misinformation pieces about cannabis, but this one may be the winner in terms of getting things wrong.

In barely 1,000 words, the author makes three points that need addressing.

The first is the overall theme.

We absolutely want a Microsoft of Marijuana!

We want one as investors, as consumers, and as supporters of the industry. Microsoft has its flaws, but overall, a lot of people have benefited from the success of the tech company. We can partially thank Microsoft for reliable computer operating systems, sophisticated spreadsheets, and cheap cloud computing that allows us to share our ideas in real-time all over the world.

Would we want a company with the resources to improve the accuracy and speed of cannabis testing, one that can grow more precise strains for medical patients, and one that can perfect security and seed-to-sale tracking?

I want those things.

So do you.

And he doesn’t know it yet, but so does Mr. Caldwell. Here’s why…

Why We Want the Microsoft of Cannabis

The second issue I had in the article was that Mr. Caldwell imagines that sophisticated banking will turn “an artisanal space into a corporate one.”

He has it backwards.

As he acknowledges, there is already big business in cannabis. Billionaires fund several multi-state operators (MSOs), and multi-national companies – like Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) and Molson Coors – are in the business.

Huge companies have the tools to get in the industry without banking.

It’s the smaller companies that are threatened by the continued absence of banking, and it’s not even “sophisticated” banking services that they can’t access.

We’re talking about basic banking services like checking accounts, credit cards, merchant services, and wire transfers.

Since small businesses would continue being barred from banking, Mr. Caldwell’s proposal would cause the very concentration of big business he seems to oppose.

My Third Issue

Mr. Caldwell seems convinced that the only likely outcome of larger companies coming to dominate the cannabis industry is a horrifying future – an industry full of Joe Camels and OxyContin, to use his examples.

He is wrong about this, too.

The legal market has compliance departments, lawyers, testing equipment, and executives who are following the laws.

That’s not the market to worry about. The real concern should be with illicit markets.

The illicit market is where children are buying cannabis. The illicit market is where people are killed in drug wars and from unsafe products.

It is this part of the cannabis market that lacks the accountability Mr. Caldwell wants to see. The illicit market does not have multi-million dollar brands that would become worthless in the event of a scandal. These illicit dealers don’t stay up at night worrying that the state is going to pull their licenses.

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And, most relevant to Mr. Caldwell’s article, the illicit operators are the ones who benefit from an all-cash industry.

The SAFE Banking Act would bring the legal industry into the financial system, where regulators can track transactions. The individuals working in the legal cannabis market are among the most ethical people I’ve ever met in any industry, and I am proud to be in an industry where they lead the way.

Just watch my interview with Steve DeAngelo below, and you’ll see that cannabis is about much more than just profits. It saddens me to see someone predicting that they go the way of Joe Camel when they are more akin to the thousands of ethical companies across the world that take pride in their products and positive contributions to their communities.

My Final Thoughts

I read Mr. Caldwell’s book – Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West – and he is clearly an intelligent and thoughtful person.

He is someone interested in much deeper analysis than is evident from his latest column.

So to me, his report on the cannabis industry is merely proof that everyone is uneducated about something.

I would encourage Mr. Caldwell to meet some of the people running cannabis companies – big companies, small companies that aspire to be big, and companies that are perfectly happy staying on the craft side of the business.

I think he’d come away as impressed as I am, and I’m certain he’d be convinced that they should not be denied a checking account.

Greg Miller

Executive Director, National Institute for Cannabis Investors

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13 responses to “3 Reasons the New York Times Is Wrong about Cannabis”

  1. Once again Greg you are spot on and thank you for all of the work you and your team do for the industry. I think you should go one step farther and submit this article to the New York Times. If they don’t print it then they are just another fake new source. Chris

  2. Hi Greg,
    Please send your fantastic article to the NYT as a rebuttal to the editorial by Mr. Caldwell.
    It would help.

  3. Greg,
    Thanks for all you do to bring truth to the Marijuana Market Place. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge and clearly Mr. Caldwell has achieved that crown. I agree with William on submitting your recourse of these outlandish statements to the New York Times and invite Mr. Caldwell to join you in some of your visits with the CEO’s of these Companies as well as providing him reading material from your investigative informative reports you have provided to the public these past years. With that knowledge perhaps he would see things at a different perspective and not print bias fake news. Thanks again for all you do for this industry and your investors throughout.

  4. I think it is really sad that people can print these articles without even knowing the facts and they think their opinion mean something to the rest of us. Personally I think they are nothing but a bunch of pompous windbag meatballs who insist on saying things just to hear themselves talk.

  5. I agree about going one step farther so that all can understand the position of Cannabis, but NYT is already a FAKE news agency!

  6. Hi Greg,
    I am in complete agreement with my fellow investors. You are spot on and we are so grateful for all of the work you and your team do for the industry. I encourage you to also go one step farther and submit this article to the New York Times as well as Mr. Caldwell. If they are true journalists, they will be more than willing to print your & many others’ perspective of the cannabis industry. If they don’t print it, then it truly speaks volumes about their lack of objective journalism.
    Thank you again for all your work and dedication, Greg!

  7. Hi, Greg. I read your comments about the NYT writer’s comment. I am glad you spoke up for the cannabis industry: that the industry is going forward to help give the medical benefits for the general public. I believed the cannabis industry is here to stay no matter what ignorant individuals think. We will witness the global cannabis revolution!

  8. I would not pay much attention to The New York Times, they are a trash paper filled with fake news! If you wrapped a fish in one the fish would spoil for sure. Thanks for your article.

  9. Caldwell and the failing NYT has the propensity to screw-up a two car funeral procession. Thanks for you timely comments Greg to help keep this excuse for a newspaper honest !

  10. My name is Ivy Phillips 1st off I would just like to thank uguys for finally getting it right about cannibis it’s the most fascinating things ever invented by God glad to c that the laws finally r starting to c the benifits of it.

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