Beer Distribution Lobby Donates $10K to Fight Marijuana Legalization
Photo by victoriabernal via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Last week a trade association for California beer distributors donated $10,000 to oppose Prop 19, the November ballot initiative that would legalize and tax marijuana. The move certainly has a lot of people talking.“Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear,” said Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project. "Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition."
Another marijuana advocate at Stop the Drug War questioned why the official opposition is aligning itself with alcohol. "We understand why Big Alcohol wants to protect its turf and keep Californians drinking; but why does the No on Prop. 19 campaign -- which is calling itself "Public Safety First" -- share this goal?"
But the California Beer & Beverage Distributors says it's not about any of that. "It's not a competitve issue for us," explained the spokesperson Rhonda Stevenson, who noted that they have no opinion on the issue either way, to LAist over the phone. "That's up to Californians to decide."
At issue for the organization is safety of their workforce and the langauge of the proposition, which Stevenson called "poorly written." She said that the state's regulation of alcohol has been working successfully for 75 years and if Prop 19 passes, there would be no regulatory structure for the drug, instead creating a patchwork of laws throughout cities and counties. "There's not a way not to implement this in a succint matter," she said.
The organization is also worried about industry safety -- fork lift and truck drivers working high, for example -- because you would no longer be able to test for the drug.