Aug 092016
 August 9, 2016

In the cache of emails released by WikiLeaks from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), there lies one interesting email that does not pertain to the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders dilemma.

In a paid advertisement email sent to DNC Finance Director Jordan Kaplan, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America warns congress on the potential dangers legalization marijuana could cause on states:

** A message from Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America: While neutral on the issue of legalization, WSWA believes states that legalize marijuana need to ensure appropriate and effective regulations are enacted to protect the public from the dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana.

23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal marijuana while Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and D.C. have legalized possession and recreational use. In the years since the state legalized medicinal use, Colorado law enforcement officials have documented a significant increase in traffic fatalities in which drivers tested positive for marijuana.

Congress should fully fund Section 4008 of the FAST Act (PL 114-94) in the FY 2017 Appropriations process to document the prevalence of marijuana impaired driving, outline impairment standards and determine driving impairment detection methods.

The expert states that the group remains neutral on the issue of legalization. However, advocates for legalization have long speculated that many adults would shift their habits to consuming marijuana, if it were to become legal, over alcohol. The alcohol industry has obviously taken notice, and tried to slow the momentum.

It’s no secret that The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America have had marijuana on their radar for some time. This last year, the group’s annual convention featured a panel entitled, Everything You Need To Know About Marijuana Legalization.” Which, according to press releases, stated the session would cover “how marijuana legalization could impact another social sensitive product: beverage alcohol.”

Alcohol affiliated groups have even went so far as to contribute to campaigns aiming to defeat marijuana legalization initiatives. For example, the Arizona Wine and Spirits Association donated $10,000 to the initiative set to be on the ballot in Arizona this November.

The aim of the alcohol-affiliated groups is to tie legalization to impaired driving – something the alcohol industry has had difficulty addressing itself. However, driving under the influence of marijuana is already illegal around the country, and studies indicate marijuana negatively effects drivers much less than alcohol.

The one area that the alcohol industry has a strong foothold is public consumption. Not drinking out on the street, but bars and taverns. Currently, consuming/growing marijuana is only allowed within the confines of one’s home. However, is the legalization movement continues it’s blistering pace, we may soon see weed bars popping up around town.

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