It should be no surprise: “Big Booze” hates cannabis. Cannabis, notably safer than alcohol (by every measure), poses a threat to the alcohol industry’s bottom line.
So it should come as no surprise that a recent report by Marijuana.com citing leaks from infamous whistle-blower website — WikiLeaks — shows that the alcohol industry is spending big bucks to get members of Congress to promote anti-cannabis propaganda. Marijuana.com found a leaked DNC email in which the alcohol-industry lobby group, Wine Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), calls for accelerated funding of Section 4008 of the FAST Act (PL 114-94) in the FY 2017 to outline impairment standards; document the prevalence of marijuana impaired driving; and, determine driving impairment detection methods.
Further, read an excerpt from a paid ad by the alcohol-industry in the May 24, 2016 edition of Huddle (a daily Politico newsletter). Emphasis in bold is mine:
"While neutral on the issue of legalization, WSWA believes states that legalize 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…
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…"
One problem: the "increase" in traffic fatalities was not causal to cannabis. It had nothing to do with cannabis legalization. Not only did nearly all drivers test positive for alcohol or other drugs, as well, the uptick in fatalities followed a nationwide trend attributed to more drivers on the road due to dirt-cheap gas prices. Other studies (see below), have found correlations that directly contradict “Big Booze.”
Alcohol Use Poses Far More Risk to Drivers Than Cannabis:
According to a Feb. 2015 research report — Traffic Study Facts — published by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the authors noted that while cannabis clearly impairs psychomotor skills, divides attention, impairs (at least, acutely) cognitive function, “its role in contributing to the occurrence of crashes remains unclear.”
More striking, however, is that in one study they analysed, researchers put the risk of cannabis consumption at 1.83 times higher than drug-free drivers, while another study found no statistically significant increase in risk. In contrast, an alcohol level of .05 BAC puts alcohol-impaired drivers at a 7x greater risk of getting in a car crash.
(Source: Washington Post)
Don’t get me wrong: Consuming cannabis and driving do not mix! In most users, it does significantly impair critical skills needed to drive safely. But, clearly the danger is greater with alcohol, a fact I don’t know “Big Booze” wants more people to recognize. Further, when people consume less alcohol, predictably, traffic fatalities decrease.
Alcohol Use Declines, Suicide Rates Drop, In States That Enact Medical Marijuana Laws:
Researchers from Montana State, San Diego State, and the University of Colorado at Denver, examined data from a period covering 17 years. In their seminal study — High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws & Suicide — they reported data suggesting that after states enacted medical marijuana laws, respective state suicide rates for 20-29 year old males dropped 10.9%, and 9.4% among 30-39 year old males.
One of the notable explanations for the drop in suicide was the decline in alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse — unlike cannabis — has demonstrated a clear link to suicidal ideation, and completion.
Cannabis -- By a Wide Margin -- Is The Least Risky Social Drug:
According to a 2015 Study — Comparative risk assessment of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other illicit drugs using the margin of exposure approach — booze is 114 times more deadly than cannabis. In fact, alcohol is right at the top of the list of “most dangerous drugs” like cocaine and heroin!
(Source: Washington Post)
No doubt, "Big Alcohol" is going to fight "tooth and nail" to stall or regress efforts by the cannabis industry. But, they should be careful! The results of any such studies pushed by the alcohol industry may not elicit the results they want. The studies would more likely come out positively, unless of course, the pro-booze, anti-cannabis, lobby develops bogus, selectively reported, high bias studies -- a tactic, many have done before them.
But, thus far, most of the research provides striking data that contradicts the talking points cited by most of the anti-cannabis warriors (who are funded by the typical cast of bad actors, including):
- Private Prisons Corporations;
- Prison Guard Unions;
- Police Unions;
- Big Pharma (surprise, surprise); and, of course...
- The Alcohol and Beer Industry.
No doubt, the accumulation of evidence and shifting of public opinion are keeping these folks up a night. Maybe, someone ought to give them a joint — so at least, they can relax a bit!