Big Tobacco Wanted to Get High on Weed

Newly unearthed documents show the tobacco industry was prepared to jump into the marijuana business as legalization bloomed in the 1970s, even asking the federal government for help. In 1969, Philip Morris asked an official at the Justice Department to secure marijuana research, and an executive at American Tobacco Co. later wrote that Philip Morris was “granted a special permit to grow, cultivate, and make marijuana extracts.” It’s unclear if the research was ever carried out, but Philip Morris’s rationale was simple: “We are in the business of relaxing people who are tense and providing a pickup for people who are bored or depressed. The only real threat to our business is that society will find other means of satisfying those needs.” A spokesman for Philip Morris today says the company has no plans to sell marijuana-based products.