23 September 2010
Marijuana Legalization and "Big" Beer
Marginal Revolution had a post today about beer companies lobbying AGAINST legal pot. Four important points come to mind.
Would it not be a natural extension of large beer makers that have been losing substantial market share in the US over the last few years (such as Miller, Coors, AB, etc.) to get into selling legalized marijuana? They already have massive, arguably the best in the country, distribution networks (possibly the topic of a future post), and I would assume that marijuana when legalized nation wide will be vended by similarly licensed and controlled retailers that alcohol is now. It would not even surprise me if pot ended up being sold by the very same retailers as alcohol.
Secondly, are alcohol and marijuana really substitute goods? As far as I know most people who consume marijuana for non medical reasons also consume alcohol.
Third, perhaps the larger American brewing companies should focus their money on developing products to compete with those they are losing market share to. That is, AB, and other large brew conglomerates should try making good beer instead of spending a ton of money on marketing and advertising to get us to drink their low alcohol product that both looks and smells like urine (enter lite beer of your choice here).
Finally I think any alcohol producer/retailer in the United States that is worried about legalized marijuana is underestimating just how much drugs, including alcohol, the American working class is willing and able to consume as our economic and social lives deteriorate and we stay unaware of our exploitation except subconsciously through voices in our heads that need to be silenced with "product".