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Distilled Spirits Council Calls On State Regulators To Tax Cannabis Like Spirits

October 31, 2018

With a number of cannabis markets opening up across the U.S. and additional states looking at potential legalization, the Distilled Spirits Council is weighing in on the subject, urging lawmakers and regulators to adopt structures that mirror those in place for distilled spirits.

“Each of the nine states that has legalized cannabis since 2012 has declared they want to tax and regulate it just like alcohol,” said Distilled Spirits Council senior vice president of government relations Mark Gorman, speaking at a National Conference of State Liquor Administrators in California. “As they write their laws and regulations, we want them to know what that looks like.

“They need to calculate tax rates that are comparable to what distilled spirits consumers pay on a per serving basis,” Gorman added. “They have to regulate product safety and retail sales like they do for alcohol products. And, they absolutely must enforce traffic safety laws for all impaired drivers, by developing accurate roadside tests for drug intoxication and testing all traffic fatalities for marijuana just like they do now for alcohol.”

The Distilled Spirits Council hasn’t taken a formal position on the legalization of recreational cannabis, but is promoting a number of policy items in states that opt to legalize. In addition to the above, those proposals include ensuring that the legal purchasing and consumption age is 21, and that all marijuana products disclose their THC dose similarly to the way spirits brands must declare their alcohol-by-volume.—Daniel Marsteller

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