Saturday, May 31, 2008

High Time They Leave the Little Guy Alone

A brewer in tiny Weed, Calif., is facing trouble from Federal regulators who object to the pot-inspired pun on his bottle caps.

"Try Legal Weed," encourage the brews from Mt. Shasta Brewing Co.

But the g-men have told Mt. Shasta owner Vaune Dillmann the drug reference and "false and misleading" nature of the message have to go, lest he face steep consequences.


OK, I know all about alcohol and special regulations and police powers and all that, but has anyone bothered to find out what the Federal Trade Commission has to say? They're the ones who have set well-defined standards for what constitutes misleading product promotion.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau claims consumers will be duped into thinking the beer actually has real ganja in it. First off, fat chance. I'd venture so far as to say 99.99 percent of Americans know pot is illegal. Thus, "legal weed" means nothing. And surely, as would suppose any right-thinking person (that is, not someone employed by the ATTTB), a sixer sitting right out in the open on a store shelf couldn't possibly have real, honest-to-god dope in it.

But fine, let's suppose someone actually sees this beer and thinks an illicit trip down mary jane lane is only a few sips away. Why should the ATTTB or anyone else care if folks are mislead into buying what they had every reason to believe to be an illegal substance, bottle caps notwithstanding? If I peddled oregano on promise of it being whacky tobbaccy, would I have consumer advocates and the FTC to answer to?

Many of the townsfolk and local politicians have voiced their support of Dillmann. Here's hoping those overzealous bureaucrats come the f around.

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