April 7, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt fulfilled a campaign promise to hasten an end to alcohol Prohibition when he signed a modification to the Volstead Act, allowing the sale of 3.2 percent beer in advance of the formal end to the 21st Amendment being ratified.
His reward? The first case of beer delivered directly to the White House.
Today, many in the media including National Public Radio and Bonneville radio stations, such as the top-rated WTOP in Washington, DC, are highlighting, even touting, both the joy and commonsense wisdom found in allowing beer to be consumed, albeit under some regulations and controls.
I enjoy responsibly drinking a well-made craft beer. The act is hardly a criminal one, as such, alcohol Prohibition proved an abject failure as a public policy and the ‘great’ social experiment lasted hardly more than a decade. However, amazingly, and at terrific costs to the federal and state taxpayers, cannabis prohibition in America has frustratingly lasted over 70 years.
Tonight, if I were to enjoy some cannabis responsibly in the privacy of my home, I can be arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated (along with other harsh civil penalties), joining 830,000 other like-minded citizens arrested annually in the US. Since 1965, nearly 20 million Americans have been arrested on cannabis charges (90% for possession-only), costing hundreds of billions of tax dollars, and yet cannabis is more popular than ever before as a cash crop, consumer commodity and therapeutic.
The Irony, and Comradery, Should Be Clear Here–Cannabis Consumers and Beer Drinkers Are Much More Alike Than Different
I’ll raise a glass tonight of a fine American crafted brew, Moylan’s Kilt Lifter, brewed in Novato, CA. Yum!! However, ideally, beer drinkers, crafters, major brewers, retailers and wholesalers should embrace and rally around cannabis consumers—not continue to vilify cannabis consumers and producers as the major brewers (and some wholesalers) do, such as Anheuser-Busch and others.
Beer by the numbers in the US:
-Beer is a $190 billion a year industry
-Beer accounts for 1.7 million jobs
-Over 13,000 labels of beer marketed by over 1,400 brewers
-2,750 independent beer distributors
Today’s modern beer industry claims that the current state-based regulatory system works just fine and is the near-perfect answer to the concerns in the 1930s about how to best and most safely produce, market and retail a potentially dangerous consumer product.
The beer industry (and alcohol industry on the whole) highly stresses the need for STATE, not federal control. The beer industry lauds its three levels of control and taxation:
-Responsible Regional Distribution
I say right on beer industry! I also agree with the sly metaphor of the brother-publishing duo of Jason and Todd Alstrom at Beer Advocate: Respect Beer.
In this same vein, the beer industry and its consumers should respect, and not oppose the tens of millions of responsible cannabis consumers who seek the lawful use of cannabis, just like the tens of millions of beer drinkers who today celebrate 75 years of a pragmatic and tolerant end to beer Prohibition.
I’ll drink to that!