It’s Election Day. Yes, there’s an election happening. You might have heard about it. Probably via your uncle’s awful Facebook posts.
Here is Massachusetts, we’re voting on whether to legalize marijuana. You probably think legal weed sounds great. (We noticed the smell on your jacket).
But know who doesn’t like the idea of legal pot? The liquor industry.
In the run-up to Election Day, the campaign opposing legalization got money from groups like the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Massachusetts and the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts.
Pam Wilmot, of the campaign finance watchdog group Common Cause, says it’s not unusual for industries to make contributions based on economic self-interest. “You can see that with the liquor industry.” Wombats said, “clearly the Question 4 approval could be a competitor, and they want to keep them out of that role.”
On the surface, that makes sense. The liquor industry is afraid you’ll take money out of your trust jar labeled “Beer/Wine/Four Loko Money” and put it one labeled “Weed Money.”
But – surprise! – the liquor industry might not need to worry.
That’s because, after those high-oneers in Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, alcohol sales actually went up.
Bryan Simpson, spokesman for the craft brewery New Belgium, agreed that doomsayers in the alcohol industry were wrong. He argued that rather than alcohol and pot directly competing against one another for consumers’ dollars, the two can be mutually beneficial in boosting overall sales. “There’s definitely some crossover in the two communities of beer drinkers and herb enjoyers,” Simpson said. “But I don’t think people are doubling down in one category or the other.”
So mellow out, liquor industry. Even if weed is legal, we’re still going to love drinking.