Big alcohol is working to undermine marijuana legalization, Wikileaks confirms

A deeper look into Wikileaks’ dump of Democratic National Committee emails may prove an agenda against both Bernie Sanders and marijuana legalization.

While many major news outlets jumped on the obvious fact that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other officials were chained in an email questioning Bernie Sanders’ religion to undermine his support among voters,’s Tom Angell dug deeper to find a daily e-newsletter sent to Capitol Hill insiders that included included a paid advertisement from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) warning against the dangers of marijuana.

In the May 24, 2016 edition of Huddle, a newsletter produced by the Politico website, the WSWA’s advertisement reads:

While neutral on the issue of legalization, WSWA believes states that legalize marijuana need to ensure appropriate and effective regulations are enacted to protect the public from the dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal marijuana while Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and D.C. have legalized possession and recreational use. In the years since the state legalized medicinal use, Colorado law enforcement officials have documented a significant increase in traffic fatalities in which drivers tested positive for marijuana.

Congress should fully fund Section 4008 of the FAST Act (PL 114-94) in the FY 2017 Appropriations process to document the prevalence of marijuana impaired driving, outline impairment standards and determine driving impairment detection methods.

Angell himself admits that while the email itself isn’t nearly as surreptitious and underhanded as the internal DNC messages, it does reveal the alcohol industry’s growing concern with cannabis as more states continue to pass reform laws.

Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project believes that the alcohol industry needs to focus on action against drunk driving rather than pot legalization.

“Given that driving under the influence of marijuana is already illegal and that the existing research shows marijuana’s effect on driving ability is significantly less than alcohol, it is difficult to see a legitimate reason for the alcohol industry to be taking up this issue,” Fox told “They would do better to fund research on how to decrease drunk driving.”

Oscar Pascual