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October 04, 2021

Guess who opposes legalizing pot -- the beer industry!

In the long campaign waged to legalize marijuana, there’s been no short supply of detractors.

1206038_dutch_weed-2_jpg After all, in spite of its relative harmlessness compared to other illicit narcotics, it may never shed its reputation as a gateway drug – the joint that leads to a line that leads to a needle sticking from your arm.

And while it may not be too difficult to make a case against legalizing pot, either, rarely has the business sector involved itself with the issue. But as California inches closer to flipping its laws against marijuana, it isn’t mother’s groups or cops shouting loudest. It may be the beer industry.

Yes, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors has waged war against the state’s proposition to legalize pot – a ballot that will face law makers next month – by apparently crying foul on what the initiative might do to booze sales.

According to the Huffington Post, the CBBD has donated $10,000 to a local committee organized to oppose the marijuana proposition, suggesting “the alcohol industry has long seen illicit drugs as a threat to sales, as consumers may substitute pot for booze.”

“A night spent on the couch smoking marijuana and watching television,” HuffPo goes on to say, “is a night not spent at the bar.”

Now, a rep for the CBBD has since tried to remove itself from the political implications of its donation, instead saying the group opposes the initiative because it is “poorly written,” not so much the intent of the proposition itself.

But look past the PR spin and it’s not hard to see what’s going on here. Industry X, thanks to laws some feel are archaic in nature, enjoys a nice, competition-free market because Product Y is illegal. If Product Y suddenly becomes free from the law’s prohibition, this will no doubt be a detriment to the bottom line of Industry X.

Okay, so that was a cryptic clarification at best. Though you can see where I’m coming from.

Do you think the CBBD has a point here? If marijuana is legalized – in California or anywhere else in North America – do you think beer and liquor sales might suffer as a result?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...