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Brewers Staying out of Marijuana Legalization Debate

In California, beer distributors are getting together to oppose the proposed legalization of marijuana.

On the ballot in California this November will be Proposition 19, a measure that would legalize marijuana and allow it to be taxed and regulated. California Beer & Beverage Distributors have contributed $10,000 to a committee that opposes Proposition 19, reports the Redding Record Searchlight.

The donation went to Safety First, the main coalition opposing Prop 19.

“Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear,” said Steve Fox, Marijuana Policy Project government relations director in a press release. “Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition.”

Two law enforcement agencies that oppose Prop 19 include the California Police Chiefs Association, which has donated about $30,000 and the California Narcotics Officers’ Association, which has donated about $20,500.

Meanwhile, California brewers such as Sierra Nevada and Stone Brewing Co. took to their Facebook pages to release statements saying that neither company supports this campaign.

“Stone is not a part of this campaign in any way,” said Stone Brewing. “This issue has caught us of off guard. We are merely a non-voting Allied Member of the CA Beer & Beverage Distributors (CBBD). As such, Stone Brewing does not/cannot participate in the political action decisions of the CBBD.”

In its statement, Sierra Nevada also clarified its position.

“Although we are members of this organization, we were neither consulted – nor informed of – their decision to take a stand against California Proposition 19. Sierra Nevada’s role as an associate member grants no access or influence on the political agendas of the CBBD, and we had no knowledge of the organization’s intention to fight this ballot proposition,” said the company.

“We feel that people have the obligation to choose what is right for themselves without influence from outside interests,” Sierra Nevada said.

California has previously legalized medical marijuana.

Proposition 19 will be on the ballot in California on November 2, 2010.

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