Alcohol Industry Lobby Is Going to Congress to Tell Them to Legalize Marijuana

As marijuana becomes legal in more and more places, the alcohol industry is becoming more interested in working with cannabis companies and creating marijuana-infused drinks. And now the alcohol industry is actually going to Washington D.C. to end marijuana prohibition.

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), one of the leading alcohol industry associations, went to Washington D.C. last week to talk to members of Congress about legalizing marijuana. The WSWA came out in July to announce their support in favor of ending cannabis prohibition, but this is the first time they've made a major push for that goal.

At the event held for members of Congress and their staff, the WSWA advocated for the federal government to approach regulating marijuana the same way they approach alcohol. They advocated that regulations should “ensure product safety, discourage underage access, create an effective tax collection regime and encourage innovation and choice for consumers, while at the same time eliminating diversion of cannabis to other states.”

The WSWA also made a series of recommendations on how to regulate marijuana like alcohol, including restricting it to anyone 21 or older, limiting the hours that dispensaries can be open and putting restrictions on advertising. Most of these regulations are already in place in states with legalized marijuana.

Some have suggested that the alcohol industry is only interested in ending marijuana prohibition so that the government can enact regulations that will help alcohol distributors profit off of cannabis. But the WSWA denies this is the case.

“No, what we’re talking about is just creating a pathway for states to have federal recognition of legalization by enacting appropriate regulation that creates a safe and reliable marketplace,” said Dawson Hobbs, WSWA senior vice president of government relations.

If more major interest groups throw their weight behind marijuana legalization, eventually Congress will listen.

(h/t Marijuana Moment)

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