Big Alcohol Backs ‘No on Prop. 19² Campaign

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.”

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  • Anonymous

    Advocating a continued increase in mayhem & tyranny solely for the purpose of financial gain, like the prison guard’s union, the DEA, or the alcohol industry, is both despicable and unconscionable.

    May I ask you all to please consider the following very carefully: It wasn’t alcohol that caused the surge in crime and homicide during alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, it was the prohibition of alcohol. That’s why many of us find it hard to believe that the same thing is not happening now. We clearly have a prohibition fueled violent crime problem. A huge number of these violent crimes are perpetrated by criminal syndicates and gangs who use the proceeds form the sales of illegal substances to further even more of their criminal activities.

    The second biggest business during prohibition in Detroit was liquor at $215 million a year and employing about 50,000 people. Authorities were not only helpless to stop it, many were part of the problem. During one raid the state police arrested Detroit Mayor John Smith, Michigan Congressman Robert Clancy and Sheriff Edward Stein.

    The Mexican cartels are ready to show, that when it comes to business, they also like to be nonpartisan. They will buy-out or threaten politicians of any party, make deals with whoever can benefit them, and kill those who are brave or foolish enough to get in their way.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to escalate Murder, Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

    Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare. We have to regulate and we have to do it now!

  • ConcernedTaxpayer0101

    Jerry Brown, candidate for governor of California, has come out against Prop 19. He’s also accepted more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from “beverage” companies, according to the California Secretary of State Campaign Finance website (

    ALLIED BEVERAGES, INC. $25,900 5/13/10 1487716-16303
    MARKSTEIN BEVERAGE CO. OF SACRAMENTO $25,000 5/18/10 1488493-16496
    HORIZON BEVERAGE COMPANY 20000 5/18/10 1488493-16506
    BAY AREA BEVERAGE COMPANY $20,000 5/13/10 1487716-16310
    ACE BEVERAGE CO. $17,500 5/17/10 1488493-16448
    MARKSTEIN BEVERAGE CO. OF SAN MARCOS $14,900 5/18/10 1488493-16501
    MARKSTEIN BEVERAGE CO. OF SAN MARCOS $10,100 5/18/10 1488493-16502
    WILLIAM LAZZERINI $10,000 5/13/10 1487716-16306
    PACIFIC BEVERAGE $10,000 5/8/10 1486926-16155
    MISSION BEVERAGE COMPANY $7,500 5/17/10 1488493-16447
    HORIZON BEVERAGE COMPANY $5,000 9/14/10 1518320-33050
    Total: $211,700