Drug War

Suds vs. Buds


Aside from law enforcement organizations, the biggest donor so far to the main group opposing pot legalization in California is the trade association for the state's beer distributors. Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, co-author of Marijuana Is Safer, comments:

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. Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. 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.

Technically, the beer distributors are tied with George Adams, president of SA Recycling in Anaheim, who also recently gave $10,000 to Public Safety First, which has collected around $67,000 so far. Its other big backers are groups representing police and prosecutors. Three other groups have registered to oppose Proposition 19: Nip It in the Bud, the Committee Against the Legalization of Marijuana, and Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (splitters, presumably). None of them has reported any contributions.

By far the biggest supporter of Yes on 19, which has collected about $500,000 so far, is Oaksterdam University and its affiliated businesses, founded by medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee, the measure's mastermind. The campaign has attracted an interesting array of smaller 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 kicking in amounts ranging from a symbolic $4.20 to thousands of dollars—than Public Safety First, which reports only three. The Drug Policy Action Committee, which also supports Prop. 19, has raised another $100,000 or so, mostly from Adam & Eve founder Phil Harvey.

I reviewed Marijuana Is Safer in the April issue of Reason.

NEXT: Reason.tv: No Accepted Medical Use? Three Perspectives on Medical Cannabis

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  1. But…but…alcohol is culturally associated with Western culture! Jeebus blood! Roman orgies! Stuff like that!

    1. I defy you to find anyone who has had any experience with both drugs who claims marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol. The whole claim is just absurd. You can literally poison yourself to death with alcohol. And if you don’t do that, you can knock yourself into such a deep sleep you will choke to death on your own vomit. Kieth Moon and John Bonham and Angus Young didn’t die from smoking too many joints. People like Richard Burton and George Best never lived to see 65. Meanwhile daily pot smokers like Louis Armstrong and Willie Nelson lived to ripe old ages. It is just absurd.

      1. Bon Scott, right? Angus is still rocking.

        1. Bon Scott. Yeah. Got my ACDC members confused.

          1. Dude, no killing off Angus! Bad enough that we lost Bon Scott.

            I have to agree with the relative dangers of the drugs, and I am and was strictly an alcohol guy. It’s crazy shit, booze, and it would probably be illegal if it were first introduced to market today.

        2. will put(rip)bon scott

      2. It’s a gateway drug! You can overdose on it; it just takes 13 lbs of it! Grade school kids can get that much easily!

        Believe me, John, I’ve heard all the retarded arguments. I was a kid in the 80s, where the stupidity truly peaked, and if you combine that with a mom who was a nanny-statist and total believer in “gateway drugz!!!”, you get the full package.

        Plus, over the course of a few years I smoked more weed that most people do in their lifetime. Hey, mom!

        1. I am a product of the same generation. And I never touched the stuff in high school. Then I got to college and realized that it was so much better than drinking and throwing up and feeling like a truck hit me the next day. And I have never been around someone who is stoned who was anything worse than annoying. This in contrast to the millions of obnoxious drunks I and no doubt you have seen in our lifetimes.

          And it is only a gateway drug because we make it one by driving it underground. Booze would be a gateway drug if it were illegal.

          1. I thought it was already accepted that alcohol is a gateway drug.

            Either way, who gives a flying fuck if they are gateway drugs?

            1. Coffee….the start to speedballing.

              Or is it St. Joesph’s chewable aspirin? Those babies are more likely the gateway to enjoying an Orange Julius.

              1. I love Orange Julius. It’s a sickness. I’m going to check myself into a re-education camp like they have for gays.

                1. Orange Julius is no longer addictive since they don’t put raw egg in anymore.

                  Ah, the good old days.

                  1. I smoked fairly regularly until I was about 40 and then just lost interest in pot. Every now and then I get a craving, but not too often.

                    I could still easily get a hold of it, but the liquor store is closer.

                    1. And I feel safer knowing you don’t have that stuff in the house.

          2. The ‘gateway drug’ is even nonsense. When I was younger and supposedly experimented with “drugs” it was always aided by a little liquid courage. Luckily Mary Jane was there for a softer landing.

            1. It is all nonsense. In the 70s millions of people snorted cocaine but never became addicts. In the 80s and 90s people dropped X and went onto productive lives. There is nothing about any drug that makes you into a degenerate. It just gives you a ready excuse to be one if you want to be anyway.

        2. Yeah growing up in the 80’s was a trip huh? The hysteria was truly universal back then.

          1. I have to give John Hughes credit for having them smoke a bone in Breakfast Club and the worst thing that happens is they talk about their feelings.

            SMOKE UP JOHNNY

            Come to think of it, didn’t they smoke a joint at the black nightclub in Weird Science as well?

            1. I never saw Weird Science. Weird, huh?

              And yeah, the Judd Nelson Breakfast Club character was awesome in general — some much needed anti-authoritarianism at the time.

              1. Uh, you need to go watch Weird Science, like, right now.

                Let’s see: Kelly LeBrock, Bill Paxton in an early dickhead brother role, and Robert Downey Jr. as a jock asshole. What’s wrong with you?

              2. I think Bender is a tool. If he was half the badass character people think him to be, he would have said “Fuck it” and knocked Vern the fuck out (you can also see Bender puss out when Andrew pins him). Lastly, they screwed Allison up when they glammed her up, much hotter look before than at the end.

                1. Hey, Mr. Chartreuse: does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?

                2. If he was half the badass character people think him to be, he would have said “Fuck it” and knocked Vern the fuck out

                  I don’t remember “Ernest Goes to Camp” being so dark.

            2. It is funny the same people who have cows over kids smoking are also worried about teen pregnancy. Getting a chick stoned is a way to get her to want to eat chips and cuddle. If you want to get laid, you get her drunk.

            3. Episiarch, I grew up in the 80’s as well. My grandmother convinced my brother and I someone would be dropping acid in our drinks at a party (skating rink 8th birthday) sooner than later. I don’t know anyone around my age (D’s, R’s, most of which too uninformed to even know where they are politically) that thinks marijauana or prostitution should be illegal. It seems ridiculous to most people. Your experience?

              1. Yes, I remember the “acid disguised as Mickey Mouse stickers” stories.

                Most people don’t think very hard about drug issues. With MJ, most have tried it, so it seems stupid that it’s illegal, but people are so used to the status quo that they don’t challenge it.

                As for prostitution or coke or anything else, “of course” it should be illegal…for the children. That’s really as far as most people’s thought processes go. Even if they’ve done coke or gone to a prostitute. Because other people can’t be trusted with that stuff.

                If you think about it, the vast majority of the government propaganda is designed to convince you that your neighbors cannot be trusted with the freedom to put what they want in their own bodies, because they’ll run your kids over or not be able to stop, etc. Thanks, government!

                1. Don’t forget razors in candy bars at Halloween. That was always one of my favorites. That and the thousands of kids in mental institutions because they dropped acid once.

                  1. Plus backwards-masking and subliminal messages in rock music makes teenagers do drugs and worship the devil, and D&D causes you to go bat-shit crazy and kill your friends after your character dies. Tom Hanks was in a movie about it, so it must have been true…

                2. In the 70s we got acid with Micky Mouse as the wizard and yes I always liked a beer with my joint.

            4. I think they were just drunk at the black bar and were smoking cigars. If you remember, AMH passes out because he is drunk, yet is miraculously sober when he gets home and Kelly LeBrock gives it up to him.

              What ever happened to Ilan Michael Smith, btw?

              1. He became a professor and dropped out of acting. No big loss.

        3. i’am sick of all the fear and smear,b/s.they don’t have a leg to stand on!ther’re going to lose,and they don’t like it, the whole reefer madness act DO NOT WORK ANYMORE! YES/19

      3. Sober up John. Your first sentence says the opposite of what you mean to say.

        1. Hah, I read that one like five times trying to figure it out.

        2. It was an extra “not”. They need to have an edit feature on here.

          1. There’s all manner of shit about the comments section here that needs work.

            Threaded comments be damned!

            1. How do you let a receiver get behind your fucking seconary on a 4th and 11? At least it was a W.

              1. secondary damn it.

                Did you watch the Fins Sunday, mlg. The Direct TV monopoly forced me to a bar, then social pressure forced me to drink.

          2. They need to have an edit feature on here.

            They do.

            It is called “preview”.

            1. Nobody uses preview.

          3. I was already to rant till you made sense for the rest of the paragraph. I’m going to go back to the windmill thread and see if any confused boys are still trying to pick up hippie chicks by educating us on the wonders of technology that was discarded in the 19th century.

      4. Not more dangerous until ya get behind the wheel–especially to others. Thump. Man, did you feel that?

  2. I can see an owner of a business that recycles aluminum cans and glass bottles also not wanting the amount of beverages consumed in such to potentially drop.

    1. So you mean if Prop 19 passes, people who rummage through my garbage at 6:00 am looking for bottles and cans will be upset about it? All the more reason to vote for it.

      1. Give em a bud, that’ll mellow them out.

      2. Technically, the beer distributors are tied with George Adams, president of SA Recycling in Anaheim, who also recently gave $10,000 to Public Safety First, which has collected around $67,000 so far.

        1. How much of it came from collecting deposits on beer cans?

  3. Those two groups ought to join together and form CAALM: Concerned Assholes Against Legalizing Marijuana.

    At least their name would be appropriate then.

  4. Dah opposition is cuhl-tchuh-uhl, ya twerp.

    1. stonah squuh-rrils, get outtah mah lane

  5. Maybe the snack industry will act in its economic interest and come out in favor of Prop 19.

    1. “Munchies for 19” ?

  6. How’s the prop polling these days?

    1. It’s still neck and neck as far as I’ve heard. The NAACP and Black Cops Assn (not official name, btw) coming out in support negated some anti- ads. It’s gonna be a bloodbath the last few weeks, though.

      Also, looks like the DoJ will sue if it passes. That may scare off some supporters figuring they’d get fucked over even if they do pass it.

      1. I saw bring on the lawsuit, and force the feds to defend their weak shit. No way they come out looking good if they try to squash this.

        1. I also say it.

          1. I don’t know. If they win the suit, they consolidate even more power, especially in the Executive Branch, which is where the FDA comes in as a regulatory power.

            Also, the way I understood the potential challenge, they were going to say they must regulate anything that goes into a body, meaning they will force themselves to regulate every new product that goes in the mouth, stifling any new developments in medicine, raw foods, etc. since it’s cost-prohibitive for a small start-up to attempt FDA approval.

            1. Also, the way I understood the potential challenge, they were going to say they must regulate anything that goes into a body,

              So they’re going to regulate oral sex?

    2. It fails, then passes in 5 years. DOJ backs off under a Gary Johnson administration. The paranoid center wets their pants.

  7. I hate these pot posts. They’re so repetitive.

  8. This guy I know, who used to smoke pot, tells me that he doesn’t ever remember smoking pot instead of drinking beer. And that he doesn’t think pot is really a beer substitute, exactly. More of a beer companion. So legalizing pot probably won’t hurt beer sales at all.

    That’s what he says, anyway.

    1. A guy at my company got fired about 6 months ago after he had a minor accident in a company vehicle, which led to a drug test (he was not at fault in the accident). Inactive THC metabolites in his system meant he lost his job.

      Talking about it casually with other employees, I had a couple people mention that the trick is to “just get drunk instead”. These people clearly had nothing against the act of smoking pot, and maybe even thought pot was pretty freaking fun. But they advocated a choice of alcohol due to external restrictions on pot.

      So yeah, I don’t think the idea of a “replacement effect” is total bunk. I’m not saying that alcohol sales would plummet overnight, but obviously the scenario has enough merit to get the booze people to throw money at it.

      1. I think it might be to some degree. Smoking (assuming you don’t go berserk at Taco Bell) doesn’t make you fat like booze. I could totally see women dumping booze for joints if it were socially acceptable.

        1. Booze doesn’t make you fat either. Drunk (and stoned) eating makes you fat. So unless you can control your munchies, switching to the doobage is not going to keep you slim.

          1. Booze is loaded with carbs. I actually learned a long time ago the lesson that on a given night you can either eat or you can drink. When you do both in large quantities it ends badly. But you can do one or the other and be fine. But I still consume a lot of empty calories when I drink.

            1. Beer has some carbs in it, but alcohol itself isn’t metabolized using the Krebs Cycle, so it produces a lot less energy than aerobic respiration does.

              The “booze makes you fat” meme is, as far as I can tell, a load of shit pushed by anti-alcohol public health “professionals” and doctors. Christ, if beer made you fat Alice Cooper would have been a whale (I know, anecdotal situations are not proof).

              1. Unless you drink huge amounts and activate the MEOS system (I think that’s the correct acronym), ethanol is metabolized by the Kreb’s cycle (also called the citric acid or TCA cycle).

                From wiki: The first three steps of the reaction pathways lead from ethanol to acetaldehyde to acetic acid to acetyl-CoA. Once acetyl-CoA is formed, it is free to enter directly into the citric acid cycle.

              2. Thanks Epi. That is good to know.

              3. Well, nothing “makes you fat”. But if you are prone to fatness, drinking a lot of beer is going to contribute.

      2. People who would smoke pot over drinking beer are already doing it. People want to think it’s a matter of law, but it’s actually a matter of preference.

        The beer industry won’t lose a single sale.

        1. I disagree. A lot of people (like me) have a lot to lose if they ever were caught with drugs. Also, after you get out of college if you don’t run in that crowd, it is hard to have connections. I, like most people my age, would have no idea where to get a joint if I wanted one. But if it were legal and I could buy it at a 7-11 and not worry about getting arrested for it, I would totally smoke it. I doubt I am alone in this.

          1. I’m gonna call bullshit on that. I have many a lawyer friend who smoke. Challange: call any random 6 people you know about getting a joint and see how successful you are. 6 degrees from a joint. You obviously work for someone else’s firm.

          2. But John, with cameras everywhere how long would it be before Dr. _____ was seen at 7-11 buying an 1/8th before surgery?

            Legalization is one thing but privacy is another.

            1. This is why I don’t think you would see pot bars popping up all over except large cities and tourist spots. I also think a lot of people would grow it. I know a ton of people that grow tomatoes and fresh herbs. One plant of a certain herb would last a casual smoker years. I think the green house biness would pick up. I also believe the sheople would eventually beccome desensitized to its existence.

              Who the hell would want to hang out at a pot bar for hours on end? Sounds like Mardi Gras to me — the first few times are killer, then I avoided that novelty like the plague in the Quarter whenever I have been in New Orleans thereafter. That’s one place people don’t let professional life get in the way of a little enjoyment, especially with intoxicants.

              1. I think the “homestone” industry would take off after legalization. Of course you would have security issues involved but these could be tailored to each individual situation.

                I agree the stigma would drop after awhile but it may take a generation.

              2. One plant of a certain herb would last a casual smoker years.

                I suppose technically this may be true, but as a practical matter it never really works out that way. Growing is harder and more painstaking than most people make it out to be.

          3. You want a joint? I can get you a joint, believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don’t wanna know about it, believe me.

            1. With nail polish?

          4. Agreed. If I get drunk tonight and show up at work tomorrow with a hangover, a drug test won’t get me fired. But if I smoke one joint tonight and sober up by tomorrow and get tested, I’m in a world of hurt. Not automatically fired according to my company’s policy, but I am automatically labeled an addict and required to go to counseling, and get retested all the time, and yada yada.

            And my company’s policy is pretty liberal, I think. Other places would just can you.

        2. I would love to smoke pot, but I have absolutely no idea how to get it. I’m sick of people always saying anyone who wants it can get it. It’s just not true.

          1. Yeah, it would be helpful for WE who want to BE something called HIGH to know where to go.

            Dot com.

          2. That’s why we need to vote yes on Tony’s; Law;.

    2. I think you are right, RC, about it not being a substitute for beer. But my friend tells me that one does generally drink less beer if smoking some pot too.

  9. Come on Californians, if can’t let teh gays marry, at least let your stoner comrades smoke pot without the threat of imprisonment.

  10. I’m dying of diabeetus and nobody care.


    1. You’re gonna die a ronery man.

    2. Oh we care. We’re just rooting for the sucrose.

      1. Well, I’m rooting for the cataracts that are a secondary effect of diabetes.

        Gout is also associated with diabetes. It is a horrible, painful condition and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody but the Dear Leader, Mugabe and a few others of that ilk.

    3. Ah, this make me laugh.

  11. You’re gonna like the smoke you toke. I guarantee it.

  12. You’d think white Castle, Denny’s and Doritos would have a finanical incentive in influencing the outcome of this vote.

    1. White Castle is drunk food. It’s even too fucked up for stoners.

      But yeah, you would expect Frito-Lay to be all over this shit, wouldn’t you?

    2. Ben and Jerry’s wants in on this.

      1. And the division of Nestle which created the prepackaged Toll House cookie dough logs…

  13. The Drug Policy Action Committee, which also supports Prop. 19, has raised another $100,000 or so, mostly from Adam & Eve founder Phil Harvey.

    The sex industry FTW. The most libertarian industry out there.

  14. The Drug Policy Action Committee, which also supports Prop. 19, has raised another $100,000 or so, mostly from Adam & Eve founder Phil Harvey.

    The sex industry FTW. The most libertarian industry out there.

    1. Double post fail, my bad yo.

      1. Not in that industry though, amirite?

  15. Two words: dry mouth.

    The beer distributors don’t know their own customers very well if they honestly think pot is a threat to their bottom line.

    1. That is right. It is not like booze has ever caused more people to smoke cigarettes or anything.

    2. Actually, I would take wine with MJ, but never beer.

  16. Aside from law enforcement organizations, the biggest donor so far to the main group opposing pot legalization in California is the trade association for the state’s beer distributors.

    Obviously a ‘no’ vote is going to cheer on the drug warriors in their efforts to screw people over for something that is none of the drug warriors’ businees.

    However, another sad thing about this is that, no matter which way the vote goes, the lefties are going to cite it as an example of “corporate interests” controlling public policy:
    – If the vote goes ‘yes’, it will obviously be because ADM (or some other corporate-bad-guy-du-jour wanted to get a MJ ‘monopoly’.
    – If the vote goes ‘no’, it will obviously be because the Beer and Liquor interests were opposed.


    1. If the vote goes yes, it’s because George Zimmer wants you high and buying a fucking 2 for 1 suit.

  17. I would point out two things. First, beer distributors often have very different interests than actual brewers. I have several friends that are professional brewers (albeit not in CA) and I’ve never heard any concern about pot cutting into beer sales. On the contrary, lots of beer folks I know also enjoy an occasional hit. Hell, the one brewery that sponsors this page (Lagunitas) is notorious for being VERY 420-friendly.

    1. That should have read, “SECOND, I have several friends…”

    2. (Lagunitas) is notorious for being VERY 420-friendly.

      Yep. Hell, they even tried to name a beer “Kronik”.

  18. Men’s Wearhouse CEO George Zimmer

    The next time I need a suit, I’m going there.

    1. I wouldn’t recommend it. You’re not going to like the way you look. Well, I guess that’s more a factor of you and less a factor of the clothes.

      Go to Bloomingdale’s instead and have them custom tailor it for you.

      1. Custom tailor? Screw that! Head to Vancouver, Canada and have Peter Louie build you one from scratch. You’ll look better than any mere tailored suit can, and still be money ahead. While there, get Edmund at May Sun to build you some dress shirts to go with your suits.

      2. Epi,

        See my post above responding to yours.

        The first three steps of the reaction pathways lead from ethanol to acetaldehyde to acetic acid to acetyl-CoA. Once acetyl-CoA is formed, it is free to enter directly into the citric acid cycle.

  19. Considering that the economy is going down the toilet, and California is largely leading the way, I’d think the Feds would want as many folks as possible, as mellow as possible.

    Plus, it’s indirect stimulus, in that folks will raid there savings to go buy munchies, thus recirculating the money back into the system.

  20. The beer distributers just aren’t thinking clearly about this. It’s far more common for people to buy beer and pot than for someone to only buy the latter. They’re not likely to lose that much business.
    But more importantly, the same types of people in favour of strict anti-marijuana laws also tend to be in favour of restrictions on alcohol (and tobacco, as well). Nearly all the arguments (legitimate or otherwise) used against cannabis can also apply to alcohol, often even moreso. By allying themselves with prohibitionists they could be strengthening the very people who might come after them in the future. Also, if marijuana is legal and widely available, they could always use it as an example against any proposed restrictions on beer (eg ‘Why are you picking on us when there’s all this pot around corrupting our kids’– if done right, this could help prevent any prohibitionists using a divide-and conquer strategy in the future).

  21. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK MR.RICHARD LEE!!! wee love you man…

  22. The opposition argument: “You would have to smooooke 14 joints in 1960 (today minus 50) to get just as high as in 2010 with just 1 joint.”

    (If you haven’t seen it, go to youtube and search for Autotune The News #12 — it’s brilliant.)

  23. I wish they’d get past the pot stuff soon so we can move on to getting, say, cocaine from Walgreens.

    1. Yeah, and my Sears and Roebuck Herion for a buck fifty.

  24. I think all of your comments are idiotic. Just because pot is less bad than alcohol doesn’t make it good. If I had my way both would be illegal and you would have to go to some kind of medical marijuana school before you could grow make or sell medical pot. There’s enough vice in the world without making more of it legal.

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