Alcohol vs. Marijuana

April 23, 2012


Alcohol companies have long been rumored to support anti-marijuana laws.  In 2010 an alcohol industry group even donated $10,000 to Safety First - a law enforcement group  opposed to the California law to legalize marijuana known as Proposition 19.  


Under our system of government we are all supposed to be able to petition our representatives to enact laws that we want to live under.  This is a fundamental right, and one of the ways in which our Founding Fathers so completely changed the system of governance as it existed during their time.  One of the dangers of this system is, however, that people and companies with more money to donate will get more attention from the politicians.  


The alcohol industry has several valid business reasons to keep marijuana illegal.  Marijuana is the number two recreational drug in the United States - If it were legal it would likely be the number one.  Marijuana is less costly, less addictive, and less harmful to the human body than alcohol.  Thus, if it were legal marijuana poses a significant threat to the profits of alcohol companies.  Additionally, unlike alcohol, marijuana can be grown relatively easily by virtually anyone at their house.  This alone makes the business model more complicated.


Although alcohol companies have good business reasons to keep marijuana illegal, they do not have good moral reasons.  In a day when corporate morality is being questioned and challenged those who drink alcohol need to ask themselves and their favorite alcohol brewer or distiller this question:  Why should you support a company that supports the governments efforts to restrict our freedoms?


The most dangerous thing to a politician running for office is an educated voter.  The conflict of interest rules at the federal level are a joke, and are designed to be unenforceable except in the rarest of circumstances.  Until we start holding our representatives and senators accountable for their votes and non-votes we cannot expect our laws to follow our wills when our will conflicts with the self-interest of our elected leaders.  The way to rein in companies who throw money at our leaders is two-fold:  1) Don’t vote for those who accept large amounts of their money, and 2) Don’t buy the products of those companies who seek to subvert the will of the people through campaign money.