The anti-marijuana folk seem to be cashing in on the legalization. For instance, there is a new device being launched in 2015 called the AirGuard from a company called Fresh Air Sensor Corp. which, depending on the model and features, can either note instances of marijuana smoking to be looked at later as proof that smoking occurred, or it can send a real-time alert to the landlord to let them know their tenant is smoking a joint during an episode of Futurama.
The AirGuard is marketed to landlords and hotel owners so they may monitor the air in the property they lease. The device either plugs into a wall outlet, or there is a hand held model as well. What is most nefarious, according to High Times, is that the sensitivity can be set to detect if there is marijuana present on a person’s clothes or carpeting, whether the actual smoking occurred or not. High Times said the AirGuard will be instrumental in the forfeiture of countless security deposits across the land.
Whether the makers of AirGuard are for or against marijuana is irrelevant. If anything, they might encourage legal marijuana markets so that people get their legal marijuana and go to a place where using it is against the rules. If marijuana is illegal and against the rules, then the risks associated might outweigh the benefits of using, and people will hide out to smoke under bridges or in their cars.
If the AirGuard sounds a little Orwellian, that is probably because it is. If a tool is created to help someone in authority monitor the behavior of their subordinates in the place they sleep, regardless of whether the surveillance itself is agreeable, Big Brother is watching. It is this sort of mentality that is going to give people who are against marijuana the opportunity to profit from the industry.
One example of a large organization that owes its existence to the very thing it opposes is the Truth campaign, which was created by the American Legacy Foundation. The debate on a cigarette’s health effects is about as one-sided as the climate change debate, although both sides of the tobacco argument receive more of a proportional representation in the media.
LegalZoom pointed out in its news section that the Truth campaign is actually financed by Big Tobacco. The funds come from the Master Settlement Agreement after most states joined a lawsuit against the tobacco companies.
While the Truth campaign is sort of like Batman in that it was created as the result of villainy, there appears to be enough separation from the two sides that Truth can legitimately be considered an opposing force of the tobacco industry. But what it also shows is that in sin industries, like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana, it is possible to play both sides of the field.
Perhaps a more egregious example of playing both sides is how Coca-Cola is allegedly funding the Mothers Against Drunk Driving campaign and the American Beverage Institute, according to the Huffington Post. MADD’s mission is perfectly clear, but the ABI is a little more secretive in their dealings to prevent legislation for issues like legal blood-alcohol content levels, or anything else that might lower booze sales. Coke, as a popular mixer for drinks, enjoys the public image associated with fighting a maligned force such as drunk driving while simultaneously ensuring it remains marketed by the booze industry as a popular mixer.
Money will be made on all sides of the issue of marijuana. It is a cynical world and that is really the only truth there is. Without marijuana being legalized, the opposition will not have anything to do, and they would be forced to find another crusade. Even if society grants the legality of marijuana, not everyone will be happy; people like that will be the target market for products like the AirGuard.