Legalised cannabis should be ‘regulated just like alcohol’

US trade body the Distilled Spirits Council is urging state officials to follow its new marijuana policy principles if they choose to legalise the drug.

Cannabis should follow similar regulations to alcohol, according to the Distilled Spirits Council

The Distilled Spirits Council took part in a panel examining marijuana legalisation and retaliatory tariffs placed on US spirits at the 2018 National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCLSA) Central/Western Regional Conference, held in Pasadena, California from 28-30 October.

Earlier this month, Canada become the second nation to legalise recreational cannabis use, paving the way for a number of drinks firms to become active in the burgeoning market.

Speaking at the conference, Mark Gorman, senior vice president of government relations at Distilled Spirits Council, said that the US states that have legalised cannabis “want to tax and regulate it just like alcohol”.

He added: “As they write their laws and regulations, we want them to know what that looks like.

“They need to calculate tax rates that are comparable to what distilled spirits consumers pay on a per serving basis.

“They have to regulate product safety and retail sales like they do for alcohol products. And, they absolutely must enforce traffic safety laws for all impaired drivers, by developing accurate roadside tests for drug intoxication and testing all traffic fatalities for marijuana just like they do now for alcohol.”

The Distilled Spirits Council’s policies include ensuring that the same penalties exist for driving under the influence of marijuana and other intoxicants as for driving under the influence of beverage alcohol, and ensuring that testing and reporting for the presence of drugs, including marijuana, as well as alcohol is required for all US highway fatalities.

During a panel discussion on the impact that recent international trade developments is having on the alcohol industry, Distilled Spirits Council’s senior vice president of international affairs, Christine LoCascio, said the industry welcomed the new US-Mexico-Canada trade deal.

She said: “Trade is a key component to a strong economy, and the US spirits industry and our consumers benefit from free and fair trade agreements.

“We hope that the US-Mexico-Canada agreement will lead to further discussions in North America, the EU and elsewhere resulting in the swift removal of the retaliatory tariffs on American spirits exports, so that free and fair trade for distilled spirits can be resumed.”

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Author: Nicola Carruthers {authorlink}