A major player in the alcohol world is backing marijuana legalization, and it’s not shying away from sharing its position with those in power. The Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) recently participated in a briefing on Capitol Hill to reiterate its stance that the feds should allow states to make their own decisions when it comes to legalization.
According to Marijuana Moment, WSWA “became the first major alcohol association to call for the end of federal cannabis prohibition” last July. Now, five months later, the organization has reportedly suggested to lawmakers that regulations similar to those already in place within the alcohol industry could also be created and implemented for legal marijuana. A photo of a handout from the meeting, which was provided to Marijuana Moment, presented an outline for the group’s ideal “regulatory structure.”
“When a state legalizes adult use of cannabis and establishes an acceptable level of regulation, the federal government should allow that market to function and give equitable treatment to businesses that operate within it,” reads the handout. “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.”
Among the group’s list of recommended public safety regulations are an age requirement of 21-years, impaired driving standards, restrictions on common carrier delivery, and hours and days of sale that are the same as state alcohol laws.
Regarding industry practices, WSWA suggested no vertical integration (that’s when one company oversees two or more stages of production normally operated by different companies), tax collection, penalties for licensee violations that mirror the state’s alcohol code, and more. The association also called for quality control testing to ensure that products are traceable to the processors and producers.
Big Alcohol’s newfound support of cannabis shouldn’t be shocking. The infused beverage market is hypothesized to become its own, massive subgenre in the next several years. As the axiom goes: when you can’t beat ’em, join ’em–right?
As the alcohol and tobacco industries continue to wake up to the reality of cannabis legalization, it’s only a matter of time before other lobbyists and corporations become vocal about supporting it, too.