For the first time, an alcohol industry trade association has expressed support for the states’ right to legalize recreational marijuana. The Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) announced the policy shift in a recent press release. The WSWA represents wine and liquor wholesalers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 370 companies that make up the group distribute more than 80 percent of the alcohol that is sold wholesale in the U.S.
The WSWA called on the federal government to respect the right of states to legalize cannabis. The trade group also noted that the legal marijuana market generated more than $7 billion in economic activity in 2016. Dawson Hobbs, the WSWA Acting Executive Vice President for External Affairs, compared the fledgling legal cannabis economy to his industry’s challenges of the 1930s.
“Eight decades ago, Americans acknowledged that the Prohibition of alcohol was a failed policy. The state-based system of regulation, adopted after Prohibition, created a U.S. beverage alcohol market that is the safest, most competitive, and best regulated in the world,” he said.
Regulation is Key
The WSWA said that cannabis should be regulated similarly to alcohol, and included a specific list of recommendations. The group