Marijuana Is Like Wine–Except For Difference

What’s the difference between drinking wine and smoking marijuana?

There’s no punchline here. It’s a legitimate question being asked by folks in Oregon who will go to thee polls in November and vote for whether to allow marijuana to be sold and regulated like wine. In fact, the voter initiative, Measure 80, has the official tag-line of “Regulate Cannabis Like Liquor”.

Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, a supporter of Measure 80, answers the question this way:

“Liquor has no medical benefit, but we allow it through a state-regulated monopoly,” Bradbury says. “There are a number of people who like to smoke pot, and they enjoy it, just like people who enjoy liquor. I don’t see the difference.”

If Secretary Bradbury doesn’t see the difference, it’s entirely possible that he’s gotten a head start on his enjoyment of dope.

I’m no prude. I’m no marijuana prohibitionist. And I care little about what people drink or smoke. Have at it. But the difference between smoking smoking marijuana and having a glass of wine or drink of bourbon is pretty wide because of one significant fact.

Nobody lights up a joint or sparks up a bowl of marijuana with the purpose of enjoying its taste or the way it enhances food the way so many folks enjoy alcohol. Rather, there is one reason and one reason alone that marijuana is consumed: To get high.

People also use alcohol to get high. That’s clear. But the fact that you can use alcohol without the goal of getting high is all Secretary Bradbury need to know about the difference between alcohol and Marijuana. To suggest anything different is either a nod to ignorance or deception.

The trend to push for reform of marijuana laws by using the good name of wine and alcohol is a strong one (as well as a politically and rhetorically smart one). We see the trend in Washington State and Colorado as well as Oregon. All three states have initiatives on the ballot that legalize marijuana use and sales and they are all promoted by  making direct comparisons to alcohol use and regulation.

In all three states the case is being made that smoking dope is safer than drinking. Maybe it is. I don’t know. But I do know this: Consumption of alcohol can be accomplished without getting high and it is done without the intent of getting high. On the other hand, I’ve never met anyone who smoked or consumed marijuana without the intent of getting high. And this, in my mind, is the downside of the linkage between marijuana and alcohol. It delivers the message that we drink wine, beer or bourbon merely in order to get high.

Interestingly, the Oregon initiative is currently behind in the polls far enough that it appears that it will lose. However, the initiatives in Colorado and Washington State to regulate marijuana like alcohol are both ahead and possess more than 50% support in recent polls.



17 Responses

  1. Becki Tooley - October 19, 2012

    I think it will become legal but before it is rushed, I would like them to rectify a few concerns first. Also, yes, you are correct in the difference of wine and pot and I agree with the fact intent is a cause for abuse.
    1. Colorado says it is earmarked revenue for improving schools. Will they do as they did with lottery funding and pull funding away from schools because of the new alternate funding?
    2. Marijuana stays in your system for a longer period of time. How does that work if you work for a company that will do drug testing. Especially, if it is Federal or the company is based in a state where marijuana is illegal. Having it in your system does not render you “high” or incapacitated. 2a-testing for smoking & driving still not resolved either.
    3. Marijuana because it is not Federally regulated or legal, is not allowed to use our banking system. Meaning it is a cash business. How scary is that and how do you enforce taxes if it is cash based. Current medicinal marijuana places evidently have to open personal accounts.

    With those 3 things rectified, I am in support of it but at the moment, I do not think we are ready to implement a tax revenue stream that I think we all would benefit from in this economy.

  2. Frank Lee - October 21, 2012


    You’re totally wrong. It’s okay. We’re all wrong from time to time.

    1. As fine wine is an acquired taste, so too is good marijuana. Perhaps you remember the lousy stuff from decades ago, but the innovations in marijuana cultivation have led to vast differences in the taste and effects between the many different varieties. You sound like one of those kids who say that all wine tastes the same.

    2. Seriously, you actually think it doesn’t enhance the taste of food in a meal? Maybe you’ve never really smoked pot… That’s the best effect! You should try it.

    3. Have you ever considered the idea of pairing different wines with different varieties of marijuana? Since you don’t, apparently, have a pallete well trained enough to notice the subtle differences, I recommend you start with a nice, fresh batch of whatever your neighbor has and a chilled bottle of a good sparkling wine. The only thing you have to fear is the realization that you’ve been spouting poorly-formed opinions on the internet. You’ll make new friends, and when you decide to cook dinner for them, will combine ingredients in new ways that will astound you. (In every restaurant in America, all the fine dining ones to your local McDonalds, your chefs, waiters, and dishwashers are probably high).

    I’m a wine professional in Oregon. I also enjoy smoking marijuana. I pay my taxes, don’t break any other laws, and would appreciate the government treating me as an adult instead of a child. I can decide what I consume on my own, thanks.

    Would you judge a wine without trying it first?

    • Paul in Seattle - February 7, 2018

      I smoked pot for years.
      Tom Wark is right.
      There is a reason why they call it “dope.”

      And the nonsensical argument by dopeheads to justify its use that, “It enhances the taste of food,” or “I feel it makes me more creative,” are just part of the delusional trick that dope plays on the mind – like when a person in a manic state believes they are invincible. The reality is, it dulls your taste and cognitive abilities when you are stoned, which is the only reason people smoke pot (unless it is prescribed for a medical treatment).

  3. Tom - October 21, 2012

    When you smoke, is it purely for the purpose of enjoying the lovely taste, texture and aroma of a fine strain?

  4. C. Woodcock - October 21, 2012

    Tom –

    Your posting says “Rather, there is one reason and one reason alone that marijuana is consumed: To get high.” I Really take exception to that comment, and I think there are hundreds of others who would disagree. You can find who they are by checking the following links:


    • Dbax - August 19, 2016

      NO, I think he said, this from his knowledge, not form yours. I wonder how many of you smokers advocate cigarettes? By inhaling and holding the smoke in i get just as high as doing this with MJ — admittedly, I have only tried m a couple of times and it never really seemed to do much — and yes, I was looking for the high, but found my third glass of wine was working for me — ha, ha, not drinking it for food enhancement but to relax in good loose conversation. Also, I wonder about the MJ cooks splashing stuff together while inspired under the influence. In writing I have notice that a stiff drink and my writing just flows and then the next day, under a clear mind, I see my writing as mostly stupid dribble. At the time it seemed like genius — If a bunch of your friends are high and you are serving up earth worms they probably all had a great time. Like i said, the weed does not seem to do much for me so I will stick with the wine. Also, wine is not fattening, it is the food, just as it is with weed and food. The sugar in wine is fermented to alcohol. My grand kid says he will have his weed to relax and I can have my wine — peace. P,S I really like weed remaining illegal and for good reason — it is the one time we “adults” can act like little kids again and sneak around doing something our Governmental parents says we shouldn’t.. If they all make it legal, then what is the fun in that?

  5. Mention - October 22, 2012

    very nicely done, frank lee.

  6. Danny Ittner - October 22, 2012

    wine- used to get drunk & go to sleep
    weed- used to get high & go to sleep

    wine- people enjoy different smells and tastes
    weed- people enjoy different smells and tastes

    wine- makes *certain food taste better
    weed- makes *all food taste better

    • Holly Evans-White @LeCellarCat - October 23, 2012

      LOL Danny! The only reason I don’t smoke dope is it makes dirt taste good! Dirt!

      Okay, maybe that was sand, like, at the beach, like, drier than dry wine. Like, when high drinking anything isn’t among life’s best ideas, not that I smoke anymore. Had to give it up cuz it made me fatter than wine does and that’s saying ALOT.

      Let’s make all victimless crimes legal and shrink our prisons and grow our sales taxes and quit being such asses. Honestly, if everyone would either drink wine, fine or not, or get stoned, the world would be a better place. Some drugs ARE dangerous – not these two (apparently, potentially) tasty treats.

      Yours chuckling in fine wine – Holly

  7. P. M. Biberstein - October 27, 2012

    having used, and greatly enjoyed, both alcohol and marijuana for over 40 years, I would like to point out an obvious misunderstanding in the above discussion:
    Responsible users of both of those drugs do not get ‘high’, if ‘high’ means ‘whacked out of your scull’ or ‘smashed’.
    But in both cases – having just a couple of tokes, or a glass of wine – will have a definite impact on your mood – it is this change of mood that is the PRIMARY REASON for both drinking alcohol and smoking pot.
    It would be ingenuous to claim otherwise, and would be a lie to claim that even just one glass of wine or beer influences our mood. The objective is mainly to relax ones head, in both cases.
    Everyone knows that wine and other distillates are ‘an aquired taste’. Why? Because they tastes completely unnatural at first. We persist to drink, and learn to like the taste because we like the effect. The wonderful world of refinements of taste are acculturations that, like paintings of nude women that were disguised as ‘art’, make for an acceptable framework within which something can be enjoyed responsibly.
    My regular daily intake of marijuana doesn’t get me ‘high’, just as the glass of wine in the evening doesn’t get me drunk – it’s a mood-changer. Using marijuana responsibly means just that: You stay within reason.
    You can’t compare the culture of responsible wine-drinking with the stone-culture of irresponsible pot-heads. Most of the latter are teens and people in their twenties – just as is the case with most binge-drinkers!
    And frankly, I’d rather have a bunch of stoned hippies than a bunch of drunken hooligans..

  8. tammy - November 9, 2012

    I don’t think it should gave even been on there it might increase revenue but its only going to stir up brand new problems just wait and see

  9. where to buy research chemicals - January 22, 2013

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it.
    I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

  10. Jack Tatum - April 20, 2013

    Wine has no health benefit? You are high!

  11. johnny ramon - August 29, 2014

    Great answers tom.

  12. johnny ramon - August 29, 2014

    No wine has no health benifit…you can get the same health benefits from eating the grapes or drinking just the juice. But if you prefer wine there is nothing wrong with that other than alcohol is I known poison… But I guess we all choose our own poison and as long as its done responsible…:)

    • nojustno - March 31, 2015

      and you can get all the health benefits from pot by eating brownies or tinctures or getting the medical stuff without the “high” effect.. instead of smoking it, which in itself is dangerous..

  13. Jason Lam - May 13, 2017

    Also look into cbd cannabis strains that don’t get people high, and relieves a pain and symptoms

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