Big Alcohol Backs ‘No on Prop. 19’ Campaign

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 16, 2010

    California campaign finance reports disclose that The California Beer & Beverage Distributors Association is one of the primary financial backers of Public Safety First, sponsors of the ‘No on Prop. 19’ campaign.

    Booze Lobby Funding the No on 19 Campaign
    via The East Bay Express

    The California Beer & Beverage Distributors disclosed it donated $10,000 to defeat Prop 19 — which would regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol. The alcohol lobbyist’s funds will help spread the lie that employers must tolerate stoned employees, and the talking point that ‘California doesn’t need another legal, mind-altering substance.’ Alcohol causes an estimated $38 billion in costs in California each year from emergency room visits, arrests, etc, according to the Marin Institute. There are roughly 3,500 deaths annually from alcohol-related illness and more than 109,000 alcohol-related injuries in California. Conversely, pot caused 181 emergency room visits in 2008, according to a study by the non-partisan RAND Corporation, despite being used by more than four million Californians monthly.

    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition spokesperson and retired Orange County, CA. judge James Gray said the booze lobby’s decision was probably financial. The move echoes the tobacco and alcohol industry’s help creating leading drug war group Partnership For a Drug-Free America.

    “It was a really wise thing to do from a merchandising standpoint to reaffirm the distinction between a legal and an illegal drug,” he said. “They are protecting their own economic self interest.”

    The alcohol lobby’s $10,000 donation to the ‘No on Prop. 19’ campaign is one of the largest monetary donations received by Public Safety First, third only to the $30,000 donated by the California Police Chief’s Association and the $20,500 donated by the California Narcotics Officers Association. (Want to ask PSF campaign manager Tim Rosales why an organization called Public Safety First accepts funding from the pushers of a product that is responsible for immeasurable public safety costs? You can do so by going here.) Last month, the East Bay Express reported total financial contributions to the Prop. 19 campaign were well ahead of those reported for Public Safety First, which at that time had only raised $61,000, with just one citizen donor.

    Of course, this isn’t the first time that the The California Beer & Beverage Distributors have targeted their alcohol profits to oppose drug law reform in the Golden State. In 2008, the booze lobby donated a much larger amount — $100,000 in fact — to defeat Prop. 5, The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, which among other things would have reduced criminal marijuana possession penalties from a misdemeanor to a non-criminal infraction. (The measure failed 40 percent to 60 percent.) Could it be that the alcohol lobby is fearful of the day when they will have to legally compete with a natural product that is remarkably safe, non-toxic, and won’t leave you with a hangover? Do we even have to ask?

    I’ll give the final word to DrugWarRant blogger extraordinaire Pete Guither who says it best, “If you’re opposed to Prop 19, you’re on the side of the narcs, the cartels, the sheriffs, and the booze industry.”

    117 responses to “Big Alcohol Backs ‘No on Prop. 19’ Campaign”

    1. rick says:

      no big surprise that the number one legal killing drug company would want to stop prop 19 from passing what a bunch of hypocrites, lets repeal the legallity of alcohol and test people for its use so they cant have jobs and than throw alcohol users in jail with us pot smokers that would make more sense. we all know that alcohol is way more harmful to society than pot users.how can it be ok to get so drunk u cant walk or talk but or even drive safely from a bar but its not ok to stay home and smoke a joint .this is so crazy

    2. Ga Sunshine says:

      Here we go. Wait on the Pharma, Oil and Timber to get involved…. Been calling this for years…. They are so predictable… it shouldn’t be very hard to win this chess match… Go NORML to!!

    3. Erik says:

      Oh that’s nice. Shoot down something that could possibly be very helpful to protect income, love it.

    4. Ryan J. Hlavac says:

      Really? Well maybe the reason that there is so many alcohol related deaths in California is because most of our residents are alcoholics because every business has a drug test. So if it were legal then there most likely wouldn’t be as many drug test, and some of these stupid fucks that get faded all day everyday may not die as often.

    5. Taylor says:

      The reason why Big Alcohol says ‘No’ on Prop 19 is because they would have competition against Marijuana users, they would lose business due to marijuana’s safe and less harmful use and it will be the end of Big Alcohol’s murderous-toxic drinks!

    6. Will says:

      Of course alcohol lobbyists are against Prop 19. We can’t have any competition now can we?

    7. Blakmagik says:

      I think its quite obvious, booze knows it can’t compete with THC and it will cut into booze’s bottom line. Not doing a whole lot to protect that bottom line though it seems from a multi-billion dollar industry. They should realize though that drunks are drunks and will remain drunks regardless of the legalization, they just wont suffer such a bad hangover anymore. 🙂

    8. Joel: the other Joel says:

      This is the best excuse to quit drinking for good.
      The first time, big alcohol was forgiven for choosing the wrong side. This time they are not.

    9. Brinna Nanda says:

      Thanks for expanding on this story. I posted it to open.salon last night, but I didn’t have the action link — nor did I know about the $100,000 booze-lobby contribution toward the defeat of Prop 5.

      This is shameful, and need to get as much press as possible.

    10. somedood says:

      Their sales will be hurt so bad if marijuana was legal. Pot is the superior drug. What they should be doing is learning how to grow it.