Beer Companies Join Law Enforcement’s Fight Against Legal Pot

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Daniel Rhoades/A Life Of Absolute Gangsterism

Man, I really hate to tell you this. But if you’re a cannabis user in California, you should stop drinking beer, unless you are into donating money to continue being busted for pot.

The second biggest contributor to the main group opposing Prop 19 marijuana legalization in California — behind only law enforcement organizations — is the trade association for the state’s beer distributors, according to Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, co-author of Marijuana Is Safer.
On September 7, the California Beer and Beverage Distributors made a whopping $10,000 contribution to a committee opposing Proposition 19.

“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,” Fox said.
“Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition,” Fox said. “They know that marijuana is less addictive, less toxic and less likely to be associated with violent behavior than alcohol. So they don’t want adults to have the option of using marijuana legally instead of alcohol.”
“Their mission is to drive people to drink,” Fox said.

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Graphic: Cracked.com
With the alcohol industry now working hand-in-hand with the law enforcement community to keep marijuana illegal, the California Police Chiefs Association has given at least $30,000 to the “No On Proposition 19” campaign, while the California Narcotics Officers’ Association has thrown in $20,500 of its own.
This partnership underscores the rank hypocrisy among law enforcement officers who are opposed to Prop 19, according to Fox.
“Members of law enforcement have argued against Proposition 19 by asserting, ‘We have enough problems with alcohol, we don’t need to add another intoxicating substance to the mix,’ implying that marijuana is just as bad as alcohol,” Fox said.
“But the truth is that a legal marijuana market would not add another dangerous intoxicant to the mix; rather it would provide adults with a less harmful legal alternative to alcohol,” Fox said.
“In their campaign to defeat Proposition 19, members of law enforcement and the alcohol industry have joined together under an umbrella group calling themselves ‘Public Safety First,’ ” Fox said. “Sadly, by fighting to keep marijuana illegal and steering adults toward alcohol instead, they are putting public safety last.”
The biggest supporter of Yes On 19, which has collected about $500,000 in donations so far, is Oaksterdam University and its affiliated businesses, founded by medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee, reports Jacob Sullum at Reason.
The legalization campaign has attracted other prominent donors including Manor Hotel President Robert Field and Men’s Wearhouse CEO George Zimmer, a longtime supporter of drug policy reform.
Yes On 19 has far more individual donors — hundreds of people contributing amounts from a symbolic $4.20 to thousands of dollars — than Public Safety First, which reports only three individual donors.
The Drug Policy Action Committee, also supporting Prop 19, has raised another $100,000 or so, mostly from Adam & Eve founder Phil Harvey, who built his business empire on sex toys and adult videos.

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