“Booze Dollars” vs. “Dope Dollars”

Alcoholpot Beer, spirits and wine compete with one another, as industries, for the nation's "Booze Market". What these three products have in common with one another are many. Fermentation. Alcohol as a component. Socializing as a byproduct. Differentiation based on taste. Highly regulated rules of sales, distribution and consumption.

And…they also all have in common the primary effect of using them: inebriation. They are mind altering.

So is Marijuana. And based on the polls I'm reading there is a high likelihood that beer, wine and spirit will have marijuana as a competitor after the November 2nd election when Proposition 19 legalizes the growth, possession, sale and consumption of marijuana in California.

What I'm wondering is this: In a world when the sale and consumption of Marijuana is legal, will the booze industry have to deal with he possibility that consumers will switch from booze to marijuana? Will "Booze Dollars" be lost to "Dope Dollars"?

It strikes me that beer and spirits have more to fear from Marijuana's legalization than wine does. The fact is, beer and spirits are used more often and more directly as an inebriation vehicle than is wine. Wine has the benefit of being understood less as a means to altering the mind than it is a cultural and traditional artifact that we associate with celebration, good living, and the culinary arts. Marijuana is a much more purely an inebriation vehicle.

In my experience, one does not wonder what strain of dope they will serve and smoke with Brie or cured meats. And while this consideration has, in recent years, crossed the mind of spirit and beer drinkers, it is not nearly as common to consider pairings when determining how to use bourbon or Malt liquor.

It's no surprise, then, that the California Beer & Beverage Distributors have come out against Proposition 19. They claim they are not against the legalization of pot in principle, but rather that Proposition 19 is badly written. I don't believe them because I know they are smart, I know they spend money to protect their financial interests and I know that beer will lose sales to dope. And so do they.

I'm also interested in two other things: How will legal marijuana be marketed and how will some in the wine industry choose to treat this new addition to the world of consumption?

I have my doubts that the California Alcohol Beverage Control agency, who will likely be regulating the sale and distribution of dope, will allow marijuana sellers anything like the kind of freedom that wineries and retailers possess in marketing wine. But imagine for a moment the kind of marketing we will see if the freedom to differentiate dope is allowed? How will that happen?

By Taste.
By terroir
By place of origin
By lifestyle contribution
By Cult of Personality.

But what about by the "EFFECT" of the product. Clearly different strains of marijuana produce different types of "buzz". Softer, higher, longer, shorter, harder, clearer….etc, etc, etc. And consumers WILL want to know which strain will produce which kind of buzz. They'll want to know what to expect from a toke or two. Will the potency of the strain be indicated on the package? In advertising? This is the first thing I'd consider in creating a marketing campaign for the stuff. In fact, I'd argue that not allowing this form of marketing would be irresponsible.

And which will be the first winery to say their wine goes well with dope? Which will be the first to suggest a clean and citrusy Chenin Blanc be paired with a hit of Indica or Sativa?


8 Responses

  1. El Jefe - October 18, 2010

    Smoking some good *%#&@!? Then you need to be drinking some good Twisted Oak *%#&@!
    There, I did it.
    Another question to ponder might be how many vineyards will get ripped out and replaced with marijuana? Are wineries obvious early producers of this new crop?

  2. Thomas Pellechia - October 18, 2010

    …and then they’ll be the question of natural pot grower or interventionist?
    Do you think they’ll ever be as many pot blogs as there are wine blogs?

  3. scott - October 19, 2010

    Two incorrect assumptions: (1) That somehow many more people will be hitting the bong. That jumps into the laps of people saying that this law will trigger more pot use. If you want to smoke now…you already do, legally or not (2) That somehow wine drinkers don’t drink wine for a buzz. Of course they do! Remove the high and you remove most of the market shares. You’re just as drunk after a bottle of great wine as you are after a six pack of beer.

  4. Ned - October 19, 2010

    Remember, the current high value of cannabis is a result of decades of prohibition.
    If produced on large acreage, the cost of production will go WAY down. If scaled production isn’t allowed to bring prices down to where the back market is undercut, problems will continue. Which won’t be the fault of cannabis.
    Who cares exactly how legal cannabis is marketed? It will combine elements of wine and old tobacco ads. There is no reason that pairing be important. Cannabis pairs well with many things as the principle effect is as an experience enhancer.
    I think you might consider using another term besides “dope”, which really is heroin slang. It is a pejorative term that is condescending coming from an alcohol user. While cultural distinctions are real, qualitative or moral ones are arbitrary. distinctions or

  5. Tom Wark - October 19, 2010

    Regarding how marijuana is marketed, I find it an interesting topic. So, I care. That said, I have my doubts that the regulations that will inevitably sprout up concerning its marketing will allow all that much creativity.
    You are correct about the the continued appearance of the black market if prices aren’t brought down.
    As for the term “Dope”, I’ve never thought of it as pejorative. I went to school at Humboldt State University and was acquainted with many an entrepreneur, many of whom referred to it in this way…and no one as far as I could see was offended.

  6. Walter Sear - October 28, 2010

    “In my experience, one does not wonder what strain of dope they will serve and smoke with Brie or cured meats.”
    In my experience, one >does< wonder what strain of dope they will serve with dinner as opposed to hiking, watching a bad movie with friends, watching a bad movie alone, or keeping ones flagging productivity up during a late night at the office. And, I'm not the only weed snob I know 🙂

  7. Tom Wark - October 28, 2010

    Upon what basis and upon what set of culinary principles would you determine one strain of dope ought to be served with brie?

  8. Helenth01 - April 20, 2011

    The people are loosing their moral while becoming modern. The society needs to be attentive that moral value. Well, it shocking and needed and immediate attention to short out at the earlier.
    Dollars to Pounds

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