Countless pro-legalization campaigns have suggested the world would be a better place if cannabis were regulated like alcohol, and also claim it has fewer negative health consequences than booze consumption.
Predictably, some in the alcohol industry have a problem with such campaigns, including this one.
Chris Thorne at the U.S. Beer Institute, speaking to the National Journal, dismissed what he called the pot industry's totally outrageous claims that excessive alcohol consumption makes some people act like jerks.
"Beer is distinctly different [from marijuana] both as a product and an industry. Factually speaking beer has been a welcome part of American life for a long time. The vast majority drinks responsibly, so having caricatures won't really influence people," he said.
But Paul Armentano, co-author of Marijuana Is Safer, So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?, told Salon.com he sees the comparisons as instructive, especially when it comes to developing a regulatory framework for legal marijuana.
"Nobody is calling to repeal alcohol. We're simply talking about a principle and public policy that we have in place for alcohol that we argue is good public policy and should therefore be applied to marijuana rather than the current alternative prohibition."
The alcohol industry, and marijuana advocates, each have their turf to defend. But from a policy perspective, comparing the two drugs is kinda apples-to-oranges considering their vastly different footprints on public health.
While the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says alcohol causes an estimated 88,000 deaths each year, we're not aware of anyone, ever dying from a weed overdose, as Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer noted last year while urging Congress to approve legalization in Washington, D.C.