WikiLeaks: Big Alcohol Trying To Stop Marijuana Legalization, Recreational Pot Bad For Business

WikiLeaks made headlines recently when it leaked documents showing the Democratic National Convention favored Clinton over Sanders, but buried in the mounds of paperwork was another document dealing with marijuana legalization and the alcohol industry.

Tom Angell over at Marijuana.com dug through the WikiLeaks report and found an online newspaper advertisement from Huddle, a daily email newsletter from Politico intended for Capitol Hill insiders dated May 24, 2016.

“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.”

“Twenty-three 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 WSWA is a nationwide trade association of wine and liquor sellers intent on protecting the alcohol industry’s financial interests, according to its website.

While the paid advertisement from the WSWA in a public email newsletter certainly isn’t as secret as internal emails from the DNC, it does show the alcohol industry is becoming increasingly concerned with profit lost to the legal marijuana movement.

The problem is the alcohol industry is advertising to the country is that marijuana is worse than their product and should, therefore, remain illegal, but that assumption has no basis in scientific research.

Marijuana legalization advocates have long argued that if cannabis were ever to become OK’d for recreational use, many adults would choose it over alcohol and that’s something the industry can’t afford.

The WSWA calls legal marijuana a “key issue” and last year, the group hosted a convention where it featured a panel whose sole focus was marijuana legalization. Then, earlier this year a similar group, the Arizona Wine and Spirits Association, donated $10,000 to the political effort of keeping marijuana illegal in a move cannabis advocates dubbed, “the height of hypocrisy,” according to the Phoenix New Times.

The money went to promote an Arizona initiative that would have treated legal marijuana the same as alcohol.

The alcohol industry maintains that stoned drivers are more dangerous than drunk drivers, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a report in 2015 saying marijuana doesn’t increase the risk of a car crash.

A 2015 national study did, however, conclude that alcohol was 114 times more dangerous than marijuana and drunk drivers were responsible for 31 percent of all traffic deaths. It’s published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

None of this is good for the alcohol industry, which is trying to keep customers and profits from leaking over into the legal marijuana industry.

While police officers can immediately test drivers for their blood alcohol they can’t do the same with stoned drivers and that’s bad for the alcohol industry.

The WSWA also seems to be attacking the retail marijuana markets’ attempt to establish itself as an industry. The WSWA is the middleman in the alcohol industry and serves both the retail establishments and the producers.

WSWA serves the alcohol industry and their profits so it’s in their best interests to keep marijuana as illegal as possible even if that means distorting the statistics to their benefit.

What do you think of the alcohol industry’s attempts to keep marijuana from becoming legal?

[Photo by donfiore/iStock]