Home Legislative Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America Backs Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol

Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America Backs Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol

Flickr @ David Gach

It’s a refrain you hear a lot from many in the cannabis community: treat marijuana like alcohol. After all, marijuana is safer than alcohol, so it shouldn’t be a hard sell to the public. In addition to that, compared to prohibition, treating cannabis like alcohol would be a great deal for cannabis consumers.

Think about it… You can buy alcohol from a store and take it home, you can buy it at a ballgame or in a bar (where you can relax and consume the alcohol) and you can even make your own craft beer at home. Apply those standards to cannabis and you have a pretty good model for legalization.

Someone you may not expect to agree with that assessment would be a group like the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. Many believe that legal marijuana is a direct competitor to alcohol, a belief that has been backed up by some early data. In fact, for many years, alcohol companies have been contributing money to groups that fight to keep cannabis illegal.

Yet evidence that the trend of “Big Alcohol” fighting for marijuana prohibition may be veering off course comes to us in the form of a new op-ed by the executive vice president of external affairs for the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Dawson Hobbs.

In his piece, Hobbs makes the case that the regulatory structure that surrounds alcohol would work just as well for legal cannabis. “Cannabis legalization is here to stay, and the movement is spreading,” he writes in his first sentence, perhaps giving us insight into why alcohol companies may be better off riding the train of legalization as opposed to trying to stop it.

“We believe that the alcohol industry’s regulatory model offers a proven, effective framework — one that’s been tested throughout the eight-plus decades since the end of Prohibition,” Hobbs writes. “Further, we believe that if a state legalizes cannabis and regulates it like alcohol, the federal government can then take action to recognize cannabis markets as legitimate.

“We offer our industry model because its results are known to regulators and proven to consumers. The U.S. beverage alcohol market delivers products of unquestioned integrity in a safe, well-regulated manner — while still encouraging competition and innovation.”

Most cannabis consumers would be satisfied if cannabis was considered on par with alcohol in terms of legality and societal acceptance. It looks like alcohol companies may be ready to publicly agree with that path, which can only help it become a reality quicker.