Alcohol association discusses marijuana legalization with lawmakers

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The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America is pushing for an end to federal cannabis prohibition

One of the largest alcohol associations in the U.S. recently took a trip to Capitol Hill. Instead of discussing wine and liquor, though, they were lobbying for the end to the prohibition on cannabis. It was the first time a major alcohol group showed unified support in Washington to have lawmakers open their minds to marijuana, with the group stressing the importance of allowing states to control their own destinies when it came to legalized cannabis.

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) is a leading industry association that has lobbied for changes to alcohol regulations in the past. This time around, they want lawmakers to push for marijuana legalization in the upcoming session. One association representative pointed out that the cannabis market could learn from the regulatory guidelines established for the alcohol industry, including those that cover issues such as quality control testing and distribution.

The WSWA also asserted that the regulatory structure “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 group outlined a number of suggestions for the industry, including product testing formulas and national impaired driving standards.

Some controversialists have tried to assert that the only reason the alcohol industry would get involved is to increase their profits. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach (it’s what a free market society is based on), the WSWA dismisses the accusations as incredulous. The group’s senior VP of government relations explained earlier this year, “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.”