Bootlegger-and-Baptist Alert, Reefer Madness Edition

Guess who recently donated $10,000 to Public Safety First, a California group lobbying against marijuana decriminalization? The California Beer & Beverage Distributors. The beer guys are, of course, concerned only with public safety. Says a spokesperson for Public Safety First: “Let’s keep in mind the beer and beverage distributors are the folks who deliver beer and beverage products. The truck driver, the forklift drivers, you know, the warehouse workers. You know, these are folks who have traffic safety and employee safety issues, first and foremost.” Beer consumption is, of course, in no way related to things like traffic safety. And who ever heard of substitution effects?

Actually, the Huffington Post item that broke the story is unusually perceptive (for the Huffington Post), noting that Public Safety First is primarily supported by law-enforcement agencies, who stand to lose a major revenue source if marijuana laws are reformed. “Police forces are entitled to keep property seized as part of drug raids and the revenue stream that comes from waging the drug war has become a significant source of support for local law enforcement. Federal and state funding of the drug war is also a significant supplement to local forces’ budgets.” But of course all they really care about is public safety.

Peter G. Klein is a Research Fellow, Associate Editor of The Independent Review, and Member of the Board of Advisors of the Center on Culture and Civil Society at the Independent Institute.
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