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Pot and Booze Lobbyists Rumble in Washington

A legal medical-marijuana user lights up at his home in Portland, Me.
A legal medical-marijuana user lights up at his home in Portland, Me.Photograph by Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo

The pro-marijuana legalization lobby has a lot to celebrate. On Nov. 5 the residents of Portland, Me., voted to legalize adult marijuana use in their city. Meanwhile, Colorado voters approved a ballot measure to tax legal pot sales, scheduled to start in January, to raise money it can use to fend off possible federal interference.

But not everybody is applauding the success of the pot lobby. The alcohol industry in particular is displeased with billboard ads that the Washington (D.C.)-based Marijuana Policy Project funded in Portland, which feature people talking about how they smoke weed because it’s better for you than booze. In one case, a spokesmodel says he prefers pot because it doesn’t make him “rowdy or reckless” like alcohol does.