Alcohol lobbyists upset with marijuana activists’ characterization of booze


“We kill your liver!”

Marijuana is safer than alcohol. It’s a simple message based in a lot of truths. But Big Alcohol doesn’t like that, nor do they like the insinuation that their legal product leads to more violence, health issues and social problems than cannabis.
“We’re not against legalization of marijuana, we just don’t want to be vilified in the process,” an anonymous alcohol lobbyist tells the National Journal this week. “We don’t want alcohol to be thrown under the bus, and we’re going to fight to defend our industry when we are demonized.”

So, when are they going to start fighting themselves? Alcohol ranks number three in lifestyle-related deaths according to the CDC. It is also partly to blame for at least a third of all emergency room visits in the U.S. according to Marijuana Policy Project political director Dan Riffle. Or the facts that women experience sexual aggression nine times higher when they are drinking compared to when they are not drinking, or that alcohol consumption by college students results in at least 1,400 deaths each year. We could go on, but you get the point
All of those negative marks against alcohol may be true, but the booze lobby doesn’t like marijuana advocates using booze’s problems to sell cannabis. They say both have their problems, but that both can also be enjoyed responsibly.
“We believe it’s misleading to compare marijuana to beer,” Chris Thorne of the Beer Institute, tells the National Journal. “Beer is distinctly different both as a product and an industry. Factually speaking beer has been a welcome part of American life for a long time,” he said. “The vast majority drink responsibly, so having caricatures won’t really influence people.”
And yet even if the majority of users were responsibly drinking, that still leaves a whole lot who aren’t and the fact that alcohol can be so poisonous isn’t helping things.
As MPP spokesman Mason Tvert says, the alcohol industry can be as upset as they want: “We are simply pointing out the facts.”