Major Alcohol Association in Support of Ending Marijuana Prohibition

For the first time ever, a major alcohol association has come out to announce its of support to end the federal marijuana prohibition giving states the ability to legalize cannabis without any interference.

Recently, the Wine & Spirits Wholesales of America (WSWA) has become the first and only alcohol association to share its position in favor of a state’s right to establish a legal and well-regulated marketplace for adult cannabis. The association has greatly changed its stance over the last couple of years, during which it had previously stated that it was “neutral on the issue of legalization,” warning congress about the “dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana.”

The WSWA Outlines 13 Policies

WSWA has outlined 13 policies that it recommends that states with legalized recreational marijuana should follow. These policies include the following:

  • A minimum age for possession and use (age 21) as well as penalties for those who provide cannabis to minors;
  • An establishment of DUI impaired driving standards;
  • Licensure for producers, processors, distributors and retailers (this includes policies to prevent vertical monopoly;
  • Hours and days of sale parity with alcoholic beverages;
  • Tax collection and enforcement  — preventative measures to stop the spread of cannabis to other states;
  • Restrictions on the sale and common carrier delivery;
  • Labeling requirements that include the potency and health requirements for the cannabis;
  • Testing formulas to ensure product purity and consistency;
  • Ad restrictions to discourage underage access and promote responsible use;
  • Restrictions on packaging health claims;
  • Establishment of a designated agency that oversees the industry regulations in each state;
  • Penalties for licensees which are similar in punitive effect as those of the state’s alcohol regulations; and
  • Regulations that help to ensure all cannabis products in the market can be tracked or traced to the source processor or producer.

A Growing Market

Maybe it’s the undeniable and unavoidable economic impact that has the WSWA singing a different tune. The expansion of the legal cannabis market only continues to expand in the United States, generating a whopping $7.2 billion for the economy in 2016.  According to a press release issued by the WSWA, the association “believes that, similar to alcohol, the federal government should give states the power to legalize cannabis, but should ensure they meet an appropriate regulatory threshold.” It may be that somewhat of a competitive dynamic has emerged between the two industries and the support of cannabis may actually aid the alcohol industry in profiting:

“Legalization should include regulations that set age restrictions on buyers, as well as lincense and regulate the supply chain of cannabis, including growers, distributors, retailers and testing laboratories.”

This means that existing alcohol distributers may be able to also serve as distributors for cannabis at the same time. It should prove interesting to see if other alcohol associations will follow suit.

Posted in: Wine Law