(SNN) In 1970, the U.S. government classified marijuana as a scheduled I controlled substance, thereby making its manufacture, distribution, dispensation, or possession a federal crime. However, in recent years almost half of the states instituted some form of medical marijuana sales. Colorado further pushed the envelope and became the first state to legalize marijuana. Other state legislatures heard their people’s voices, and the dominos began to fall. Washington, Oregon, and Alaska followed Colorado’s weed lead, and more states will certainly join their ranks. Forget red and blue political state designations. Green is the new ticket, and its popularity is blazing across the country.
But is it a good idea? Researchers from the Frito-Lay Corporation say absolutely. A recently published 357-page blast from the company, hailed empirically proven health benefits associated with marijuana consumption. Coinciding with their research publication, Frito-Lay plans to introduce “extreme” snack bag sizing in Colorado and Washington. On May 1, 2015, grocery and convenience stores in Denver will begin selling 50lb Cheetos bags, while outlets in Seattle will offer full-sized, fully stocked Doritos disposable duffel bags, complete with carrying straps.
While still considered a beta test group, Frito-Lay firmly believes in their corporate marketing paradigm.
Tom Greco, president of Frito-Lay, Inc., stated, “The people in these fine states have spoken while smokin’, and we feel an obligation to fall in line with the voice of the masses. It’s our duty as Americans and dietary professionals to provide a high standard.”
While Frito-Lay is a subsidiary of PepsiCo, it is uncertain if this will spill over into other facets of the multinational food and beverage corporation or if new competitors will crop up and follow suit.
“We’ll let the free market and healthy competition discern the strong and weed out the lesser products and companies,” Greco commented.
On the other side of the coin, U.S. Drug Czar Michael Botticelli attacked the report, questioning its merit, credibility, and grammar.
“Seriously, did anybody actually review this?” Botticelli asked. “It reads like a fifth grade social studies paper. Not to mention, there’s nothing after page 7! The last 350 pages is the same pie chart, repeated with different colors.”
When queried regarding the drug czar’s accusations, Greco responded, “Who doesn’t like pie?”
And that’s a solid argument. Even diabetics like pie, they just can’t eat it.
When asked about their position on “extreme” snack bagging, the Obesity Action Coalition, the American Obesity Association and Shape Up America! all initially declined to comment on the issue. However, in a brief, impromptu press release, all three organizations expressed support for personal freedom of choice and two of the organizations plan to actively petition the U.S. Congress to make May 1 a national holiday.
However, critics dispute Frito-Lay’s research objectivity, raising concerns over conflict of interest with the snack company and cannabis cultivators. Although piloted in only two states, almost half of the states have some form of legal cannabis sales through medical marijuana dispensaries. If “extreme” snack bagging ignites in Colorado and Washington, their plumes will surely envelop the rest of the country, if not Canada, too.
Speaking openly, an enthusiastic Colorado medical marijuana prescriber, anonymously known as Dr. Mary Jane, hailed Frito-Lay as wellness and marketing pioneers.
“It’s absolutely genius,” Dr. M.J. exclaimed. “I just wish we had a little more lead time on this. Fifty pound Cheetos bags will take up a lot of space and I’ll definitely need more shelving at my clinic. Orange and green will now be synonymous with good health!”
Even conservatives noted for their stance against the legalization of marijuana softened their hardline drug rhetoric, noting Frito-Lay’s marketing acumen and opportunistic approach to an increasing societal acceptance of legalized cannabis.
“We’ll definitely take stock of the ongoing Frito-Lay situation, no pun intended,” quipped an anonymous Wall Street analyst. “I’ve always said go after the green. Who knew?”
Colorado knew. The state posted $39.2 million in recreational cannabis sales in February 2015 alone, up almost $3 million from the previous month. In 2014, the state reported $385.9 million in medical marijuana sales and $313.2 million in recreational marijuana sales. And keep this in mind; the FDIC won’t touch these proceeds, so this remains a cash business without bank and credit card company involvement.
Does this mean businesses are not fully claiming their true income to avoid higher taxation? Despite the huge profits, are the states still missing out on a large portion of taxable revenue? Absolutely not, claims the National Restaurant Association (the other NRA).
“Waiters, waitresses, and bartenders have worked for decades in a business that can rely heavily on cash. These employees diligently maintain accurate tax records and claim all cash tips to the IRS and state officials. Under-reporting cash profits simply doesn’t happen, and I’m sure the marijuana industry is no different.”
Esther George, Kansas City Federal Reserve President, recently met with Colorado bankers to discuss issues revolving around banking services access for legalized “pot shops”. Although parties presented no resolution, many see this as the next step in bringing cannabis mainstream and legitimizing an industry previously associated with criminal elements.
And what do the man and woman on the street think?
“That’s obvious,” Greco says. “The votes were tallied, marijuana's legal, and the snacks are in route. Smoke up boys and girls, and let the chips fall where they may!”
Photo: Some Rights Reserved by Cannabis Culture Flickr photostream, The Sage nor this article endorsed. The original image can be located here.
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