In ‘Battle of the Buzz,’ Alcohol Companies Fight Marijuana Legalization
It’s billed as the “Battle of the Buzz.”
Alcohol and pharmaceutical companies are putting big money into the fight against marijuana legalization, as they fear consumers will start choosing marijuana over their products. With similar clientele, alcohol companies are worried they’ll lose market share and profits if consumers are given the choice between marijuana and beer, with one University of Colorado Denver professor claiming people will choose marijuana over beer if given the choice.
The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts just accepted a $25,000 gift from the Beer Distributors PAC, a conglomerate of over 16 beer-distributors in Massachusetts, despite the fact alcohol is far and away more dangerous than marijuana. Alcohol also isn’t very healthy, and probably does little in improving the safety of Massachusetts, which just proves the Beer Distributors shambolic donation was more about preventing the legalization of marijuana and not the health and wellness of their state.
Arizona and California are seeing similar fights between alcohol and legalization efforts, with the Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association donating $10,000 to a group fighting legalization.
While craft beer companies seem less worried with legalization efforts, larger beer companies continue to warn investors of the dangers of legalization and how it may affect the bottom line.
According to the Intercept:
The Boston Beer Company, the parent company of Sam Adams, told investors in its 10-K filing that laws that allow the “sale and distribution of marijuana” could “adversely impact the demand” for beer.
However, according to consumption trends in Colorado, alcohol companies may be wasting time and effort fighting legalization. Since marijuana became legal in the state, alcohol sales are steadily growing alongside recreational marijuana use as the two industries find a way to work together. Colorado’s strong craft beer scene may have something to do with that, as breweries like New Belgium embraced the crossover of the two consumers.
With eight states voting on the legalization of marijuana in November (five are voting for recreational use, while three are voting on medical use), alcohol companies are putting in their last-ditch attempts to prevent sharing the market with marijuana distribution companies. Hopefully voters can look past the organizations accepting misguided donations from alcohol companies and vote on what’s right for their state. With Colorado as proof of what’s possible, alcohol companies should embrace the marijuana legalization efforts, knowing the two industries can work together and enhance the other. Can’t we all just get along?
Michael Sapenoff is a writer and artist in Kansas City. Follow him @MikeSapenoff