Cannabis is Coming After the Wine Industry

The cannabis industry is coming after wine and alcohol.

The Cannabis message du jour (and it’s likely to become the message du always) is that cannabis is better for you than alcohol. The claim is often being used as an argument for legalization. But it’s equally as common to find messaging in cannabis marketing and promoting cannabis by its advocates.

I could have posted 100 examples of this kind of cannabis marketing. But what’s the point? A quick Google search will give you all that. Below are just a tiny fractions of the attempt to promote cannabis by demonizing alcohol and they all come from cannabis sellers, promoters or journalists.

I’ve taken a bit of slack for my view that cannabis is a competitor to wine. But every day that view is born out. I’ve taken slack for arguing that wine industry collaboration with cannabis just helps cannabis shove the knife in further. Yet it seems more than willing to demean alcohol whenever necessary.

“Alcohol is a nice treat to have here and there. But nothing can compare to the herb as far as effects go. Unlike alcohol, smoking weed makes you feel good. In fact, you can consume as much ganja as you want and still be okay. Meanwhile, too much alcohol will have you hugging the toilet. Or even worse, it’ll put you in your grave. It’s no secret that lighting up is safer than throwing back a few cold ones. From zero hangovers to fewer potty breaks, here are 13 reasons why weed is better than booze.”
HERB — 13 Reasons By Weed is Better Than Booze

“Later on in his life, Petty was also an outspoken advocate for cannabis legalization. In 2013, he told Rolling Stone that he thought this country’s contrasting treatment of marijuana and liquor was hypocritical: “Liquor’s worse for you. I don’t think pot’s addictive — I never felt like I had to have it, you know. Actually, no, I take that back [laughs]. But it is safer than alcohol.”
MERRY JANE — Tom Petty, Rock Legend, and Cannabis Advocate Passes

But, we know that consuming alcohol carries risks; some serious. These risks lead to a strong argument in favor of marijuana over alcohol. And as more people accept the use of marijuana, more research is being done that suggests marijuana has many benefits. As people choose health and wellness, a realization that benefits of marijuana far outweigh benefits of alcohol is becoming prevalent.”
NORTHERN LIGHTS CANNABIS CO — Forget Alcohol: 3 Reasons Why Marijuana Is Better

But clearly, marijuana retailers are doing a better job of protecting our kids than alcohol retailers—and are checking IDs nearly 100 percent more often than street corner weed dealers do.
HIGH TIMES—Marijuana Legalization is Protecting Kids Better than Alcohol Legalization

“Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose.
NORMAL — About Marijuana

“The fact that fewer teens are drinking does not mean they are avoiding all mind-altering substances. Several of those interviewed said alcohol has been supplanted as the substance of choice by marijuana, which became legal to possess and consume in the District nearly three years ago. That, they say, has made it more accessible and more ubiquitous, inside and outside the city limits. Unwilling to go on the record as users of the drug (the legal age for possession and use in the District is 21), the teens described it as calming and less likely to put them in compromising positions than alcohol. As one put it, after smoking marijuana, “you still have your morals.”
THE CANNABIST— Weed Replacing Alcohol As Substance of Choice For Some Teens

“And guess what? Drivers who test positive for active THC—not merely inactive metabolites—do increase their risk of crashing. But that increased risk is small compared to alcohol”
LEAFLY — Taking Drugged Driving Seriously: What Does the Science Say?

“There is no good reason to continue arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana possession,” Simon said. “Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and Granite Staters are ready to see it treated that way. A very strong majority of state residents support ending marijuana prohibition altogether.”
HEADY VERMONT — New Hampshire Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Takes Effect Tomorrow

“I became aware of Jared because of his activist antics of standing on the street corner wearing a sandwich board with the message “Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol” and post the location on Facebook, and that was it. He only was trying to share a message that would start a bigger conversation.”
WEED NEWS — A Safer World With Jared Allaway

Until now, the wine industry has focused heavily on how cannabis will compete over field labor at the production end and over wallet share at the consumer end. The Big Moon Sky launch demonstrates that the cannabis industry is also going to poach top talent from wineries who share many of the same obstacles as cannabis producers.
Big Moon Sky — Cannabis Investors Take Over Wine Country’s Top Talent, Infrastructure, and Customer Base

Ravaged by prescription medication addiction, obesity from fast food, and widespread alcohol and cigarette use, America could use a perspective outside the multi-billion dollar corporations who make people sick to sell them pills that make them sicker.
MERRY JANE — Cannabis Product To Aim in Pursuit of a Better You

My argument is that there are a finite number of “Inebriation Dollars” in the economy. During any given year, X amount of money will be spent on legal means of Inebriation whether it be wine, beer, spirits or, now, cannabis.

The wine, beer, and spirits people have long understood this. It’s why you rarely if ever see cross-promotion between beer and wine and spirits. They are each other’s competitors. The same is true, now, of cannabis.

Cannabis has an edge. They can market their product by explaining in detail just exactly how inebriated you will become when you consume it. Alcohol is banned from doing such a thing. Furthermore, alcohol is banned from marketing by way of saying that, say, wine is healthful. Cannabis is not banned from claiming this.

And now, wine and other alcohol can look forward to cannabis marketing regularly telling consumers just how much better it is than alcohol.

Meanwhile, there are still wine folks who want to collaborate with the cannabis industry. Why?

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3 Responses

  1. Bob Henry - October 9, 2017

    “Cannabis is Coming After the Wine Industry” when it comes to securing its “share of wallet” expenditure.

    An individual’s total budget for beer and wine and spirits and cannibis is largely fixed as a percentage of take-home pay, and limited by one’s leisure hours.

    With the decriminalization of cannibis, its expenditure share should rise at the expense of beer and wine and spirits consumption.

    Economists invoke the concept of “the indifference curve” to explain this substitution phenomenon.

  2. Rebecca Stamey-White - October 16, 2017

    You ask why wine folks want to collaborate with the cannabis industry. I think the answers are as simple as diversification of investments and an interest in both worlds. Individual players do not represent the entire industry nor do they necessarily view the world as a zero-sum game. If there are finite inebriation dollars, why not be positioned in both industries to be able to capitalize on one’s demonstrated knowledge and experience of one industry to the benefit of another? Moreover, if consumers are adjusting their preferences and changing how they spend their inebriation dollars, doesn’t it make sense to follow your customers?

    • Tom Wark - October 16, 2017

      Point taken, Rebecca.

      How would only respond that the Cannabis industry has about as much interest in the wine industry’s success as the wine wholesalers have in the success of direct shipping: none. And they demonstrate this daily by pushing back not one bit on the the stories that demonize wine in order to promote their own brand.

      To muy mind, wineries in general have ZERO to gain by collaborating in the success of the Cannabis industry. Then there is the issue of the liability that comes wth having a federal permit, a subject that you can speak to better than anyone.

      But more than anything, I don’t see where the ROI is in helping the Cannabis industry. The wine industry properly does nothing to invite consumers to drink more spirits or beer. Why would they do so with Cannabis, which has a propensity to disparage wine in order to get a leg up.


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