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posted by martyb on Sunday September 18 2016, @07:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the buzzkill dept.

Alcohol and painkiller manufacturers, terrified that they might lose market share, are major players in the fight against pot-legalizations ballot initiatives.

The fight against legalized pot is being heavily bankrolled by alcohol and pharmaceutical companies, terrified that they might lose market share.

On the heels of a filing last week that revealed that a synthetic cannabis company is financing the opposition to legal marijuana in Arizona comes a new disclosure this week that a beer industry group made one of the largest donations to an organization set up to defeat legalization in Massachusetts.

The Beer Distributors PAC, an affiliate that represents 16 beer-distribution companies in Massachusetts, gave $25,000 to the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, tying it for third place among the largest contributors to the anti-pot organization.

William A. Kelley, the president of the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts, did not respond to a request for comment, but his organization's decision to oppose legalization is hardly unique in the alcohol industry.

In Arizona, one of the five states with marijuana legalization ballot measures this November, the Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association donated $10,000 to a group opposing legalization. In 2010, the last time California considered marijuana legalization, another alcoholic beverage distribution group provided financing to a law enforcement-backed campaign to defeat legalization.

Source: https://theintercept.com/2016/09/14/beer-pot-ballot/

[Update: The article in The Intercept had two 'links' that lacked any actual URL. An alternative was found for the link to William A. Kelley and replaced. Could not find a link to corroborate the $10,000 donation in Arizona — that link was removed. -Ed.]


Original Submission

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The Calm Before the Kratom Ban 27 comments

The blowback against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's decision to ban kratom has caught the attention of a bipartisan group of legislators, but a DEA spokesman has said that "It's not a matter of if. It's simply a matter of when" the DEA bans kratom:

A bipartisan group of nine senators is calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to delay its "unprecedented" decision to ban kratom, a plant that researchers say holds great potential for mitigating the effects of the opioid epidemic. [...] The Senate letter, spearheaded by Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) says: "Congress granted emergency scheduling authority to the DEA based on the need for law enforcement interdiction of new and previously unknown illegal synthetic street drugs that result in injuries and death. The use of this emergency authority for a natural substance is unprecedented, so it is important to determine whether the circumstances here necessitate a jump to Schedule I.

"Given the long reported history of Kratom use," the letter continues, "coupled with the public's sentiment that it is a safe alternative to prescription opioids, we believe using the regular review process would provide for a much-needed discussion among all stakeholders." [...] The DEA cites 600-plus poison-control center calls involving kratom between 2010 and 2015 in its justification for banning the plant, and notes that 15 deaths were linked to the use of the plant between 2014 and 2016. In an interview with The Washington Post, a DEA spokesman later clarified that all but one of those fatalities involved the use of other substances. Earlier this week 51 U.S. representatives similarly called on the DEA and the White House to reconsider or at least delay the ban, which was slated to go into effect as early as Friday. In an interview, DEA spokesman Russell Baer confirmed that the ban was not yet in place. "We have not yet determined a date when we will publish that final order" putting the ban into effect, he said.

There may be a public comment period before the ban takes effect, and the White House is now obligated to respond to the petition about kratom, which has reached over 140,000 signatures.

Text of the Senators' letter. Also at Ars Technica, CBS, and US News & World Report.

Previously: DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Alcohol Industry Bankrolls Fight Against Legal Pot in Battle of the Buzz [Updated]


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @07:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @07:46PM (#403493)

    Sometimes something becomes legal because Congress makes a law. Sometimes it's because the President writes an executive order. Sometimes the public votes.

    I don't know which of those is best, but I do know that I don't like legality being decided by whichever side having the most money to spend on propaganda.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @07:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @07:57PM (#403499)

      sort of like how Kratom will be illegal in a few days, and synthetic variants of the the effective opiate withdrawal alleviating compounds within it have been isolated just recently?

      I've used Kratom on and off for 15 years, probably before most people heard of it (I generally try some of the fringe stuff those online headshops sell... but usually avoid stuff promoted to be legal weed or something dumb like that). I havent been addicted to anything and haven't needed painkillers greater than an aspirin or ibuprofen; I use/used kratom in a manner similar to scullcap (reduction of mental noise/helping to focus on getting physical chores done instead of goofing off...).

      There is nothing high about it. The whole description of its capability to help deal with opiate withdrawal is new to me. And because big pharma got so many addicted in the modern opium wars, it seems not too far of a stretch that they wish to control the means to escape it.

      It doesnt surprise me that big pharma and the big breweries want to kill legal pot or legal anything-they-can't-control. We see it time and again when a comfortable monopoly is threatened...

      I just hope people vote for their individual liberties and say it loudly enough to get the results.

      If the the republican party can end up having Trump as their standard-bearer, anything can happen. It's clear people wanted change they could count on; maybe they can try to shake up the monopolistic system the various capitialistic controls are trying so hard to keep into place, be it municpal internet delivery, solar power hookups, alternative fuels, or alternative medicines. Change can be good.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @08:14PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @08:14PM (#403501)

        The change that Trump represents is that

        1) he doesn't have the attention span to study policy that can't be explained in two or three sentences.

        2) he doesn't think he needs to hire anybody to make the decisions, because he obviously has better judgement than the so-called experts

        • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Monday September 19 2016, @06:34AM

          by davester666 (155) on Monday September 19 2016, @06:34AM (#403635)

          1) he doesn't have the attention span to study policy that can't be explained in two or three words.

          ftfy.

          Hell, he didn't even know the basic R abortion policy (he said he wanted to punish the women having abortions, R policy is they are being "taken advantage of" by evil doctors and nurses).

          He thinks that getting his kids to run his businesses is putting them in a blind trust.

          It's kinda sad that he's got so far by just blurting out whatever he thinks the crowd in front of him wants to hear, regardless of what the truth is or whatever his personal beliefs are (beyond "I am great").

          • (Score: 2) by Bogsnoticus on Monday September 19 2016, @07:16AM

            by Bogsnoticus (3982) on Monday September 19 2016, @07:16AM (#403644)

            1) he doesn't have the attention span to study policy that can't be explained in two or three syllables.

            Ftftfy

            --
            Genius by birth. Evil by choice.
            • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Monday September 19 2016, @07:32AM

              by davester666 (155) on Monday September 19 2016, @07:32AM (#403648)

              and if you use 3 syllables, it's 50/50 whether or not Trump immediately calls you a liar.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @01:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @01:35PM (#403737)

      And this is why money should not be defined as political speech. Free speech's value comes from ideas having to survive on their merit, not the political power wielded by who it appeals to. But here, continued prohibition is kept going because of these industries' money.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @08:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @08:52PM (#403509)

    Instead of using their existing business knowledge, current profits, and distribution network to out maneuver any pot startups thus leading them to a bigger market share of an increasing market, they try to prevent the market from even existing.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @09:22PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @09:22PM (#403517)

      In TN they took your approach. They finally, just this year, made it legal for grocery stores to sell wine and spirits. Seems pretty obvious that the threat of legal MJ breathing down their necks is what finally motivated the industry to get their pet legislators to loosen the monopoly on alcohol distribution.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by snufu on Sunday September 18 2016, @09:20PM

    by snufu (5855) on Sunday September 18 2016, @09:20PM (#403515)

    A drunk stumbles down a sidewalk carrying an open can of beer in a paper bag. A stoned skateboarder weaves back and forth on the same sidewalk leaving a trail of doobie smoke in his wake. They crash into each other and both fall to the pavement stunned.
    Drunk: "Hey. You got pot in my beer!"
    Stoner: "You got suds on my spliff!"
    Cue jingle as they trip arm in arm into street traffic: "Two great tastes that taste great together."
     

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @09:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @09:26PM (#403518)

      I imagine it more like this:

      Drunk: Oh for FUCKS SAKE, you FUCKING ASSHOLE!!!

      Stoner: Whoa dude, next time maybe you should pay attention where you're going?

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @10:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @10:34PM (#403535)

        Followed by the stoner getting 3 years in prison.

        • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Monday September 19 2016, @11:19AM

          by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Monday September 19 2016, @11:19AM (#403671) Journal

          ...and emerging at the end of his sentence as an unemployable violent antisocial criminal with swastikas tattooed all over his face.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @02:40PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @02:40PM (#403786)

            and turns to alcohol then heroin....

  • (Score: 2) by GungnirSniper on Sunday September 18 2016, @10:27PM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Sunday September 18 2016, @10:27PM (#403534) Journal

    The link in the summary is broken, and the website of the cartel does not seem to use encryption for the login pages: http://www.mabeerdistributors.com/members.htm [mabeerdistributors.com]

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by martyb on Monday September 19 2016, @10:19AM

      by martyb (76) on Monday September 19 2016, @10:19AM (#403667) Journal

      Thanks for pointing that out! It appears that there were two malformed links in the original story posted to The Intercept and they were faithfully reproduced here.

      I've updated one link to actually point to information on the president of the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts. The other link (about the $10,000 donation in Arizona) could not be corroborated and was removed.

      Given that those 'links' contained anchor *text* instead of URLs, it makes me wonder as to the state of mind of the author - drunk? or stoned?

      ;)

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @11:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2016, @11:33PM (#403544)

    Hostess Ding Dongs is hoping for legalized pot. After all, who doesn't like Donkey Wangs (Ding Dongs) after getting flamed?

    • (Score: 1) by butthurt on Monday September 19 2016, @12:42AM

      by butthurt (6141) on Monday September 19 2016, @12:42AM (#403560) Journal

      Be careful what you wish for. THC might become the new HFCS.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @01:27AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @01:27AM (#403574)

        High Fashizzle Cannabis Syrup? Hell yes.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Pslytely Psycho on Monday September 19 2016, @12:19AM

    by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Monday September 19 2016, @12:19AM (#403553)

    Just look at the horrible things happening where it's legalized.
    Crime is down, opiate usage is down, alcohol sales are down, prison populations down,DUIs down, violent crime down, pizza sales up.
    This must be stopped!

    Me, uh, I'm off to the pot store.....

    --
    Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @01:37AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @01:37AM (#403575)

      In Colorado, alcohol sales are up [usnews.com] since pot was legalized.

      Speculation on my part: the liquor industry doesn't want pot to be legal, because that would increase the pressure for restrictive legislation when things go wrong, e.g. a spike of deaths on the highway because of DUI. Making pot legal increases the odds that something like that will happen.

      • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Monday September 19 2016, @02:17AM

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Monday September 19 2016, @02:17AM (#403591) Journal

        spike of deaths on the highway because of DUI. Making pot legal increases the odds that something like that will happen.

        Hey, man... Am I drivin' ok? [youtube.com]

        --
        La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @03:14AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @03:14AM (#403604)

          you mean I've been smoking dogshit? lol

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @03:43AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @03:43AM (#403609)

    They are the alcohol distributors, not the brewers. There is a big difference there. They are decidedly unfriendly with the brewers who are not part of the big three foreign conglomerates.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by PinkyGigglebrain on Monday September 19 2016, @06:10AM

    by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Monday September 19 2016, @06:10AM (#403631)

    reminds me of the way the Hearst newspapers in the late 1930's printed articles about how a "Devil Weed" the illegals from Mexico had brought with them was a threat to the public safety and had to be outlawed. Apparently it made Mexicans and Blacks violent and disrespectful to Whites and would even make a White woman want to sleep with a Black!

    Up until then the majority of Americans had never heard of this plant, it was called "Marijuana". Of course everyone had heard of Hemp, Popular Mechanics did an article on how Hemp was going to be a Billion dollar crop soon (yes, they said a Billion in 1938) because of its use in textile, medicine and the paper industries.

    The main reason for the media blitz against Hemp was because Hearst had just signed a deal with Du Pont to use Du Pont's newly patented Sulfuric acid/wood pulp based paper, at a greatly reduced price, for all Hearst newspapers. But first they had to get rid of the potential competition, Hemp.

    Its always about money isn't it? Screw the environment and the Rights of the Citizens (everywhere) just to make a buck.

    Want some more info?
    http://www.jackherer.com/emperor-3/chapter-3/ [jackherer.com]

    --
    "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @02:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2016, @02:37PM (#403783)

      "'murika's business is business." right from Dubya's lips. nowhere does that statement lay any claim to morality, or anythng other than the thing that is 'murika's downfall, greed and avarice. ain't 'murika great.