Hacked DNC Documents Show Alcohol Industry Playing Up Fears About Cannabis

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America paid for an ad in the May 24, 2016 edition of Politico’s daily Huddle newsletter pushing for members of Congress to fully fund Section 4008 of the FAST Act, which would force a study on “marijuana-impaired driving,” according to a review of hacked Democratic National Committee documents released by Wikileaks.

“A message from Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America: While neutral on the issue of legalization, WSWA believes states that legalized marijuana need to ensure appropriate and effective regulations are enacted to protect the public from the dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana.

“23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal marijuana while Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and D.C. have legalized possession and recreational use. In the years since the state legalized medicinal use, Colorado law enforcement officials have documented a significant increase in traffic fatalities in which drivers tested positive for marijuana.

“Congress should fully fund Section 4008 of the FAST Act (PL 114-94) in the FY 2017 Appropriations process to document the prevalence of marijuana impaired driving, outline impairment standards and determine driving impairment detection methods.”

The year-long study by the Department of Transportation — included in the infrastructure legislation — would make recommendations for defining driving under the influence of marijuana, including an “impairment standard.”

Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project, said that money would “do better to fund research on how to decrease drunk driving.”

“Given that driving under the influence of marijuana is already illegal and that the existing research shows marijuana’s effect on driving ability is significantly less than alcohol, it is difficult to see a legitimate reason for the alcohol industry to be taking up this issue,” Fox said in the report.

According to the WSWA website, the organization “does not have a position on the core question of marijuana legalization,” however their website indicates that they are proponents of a “three-tiered” regulatory structure for the cannabis industry akin to the one in place for alcohol.

“Without a similarly robust system, the marijuana market could present the potential for illicit and unregulated activity akin to that which occurred with alcohol prior to and during Prohibition,” the WSWA site says. “Accordingly, WSWA stands ready to serve as a resource for states in explaining the merits of the three-tier system as a systematic and effective regulatory framework.”

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