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"The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS)"
March 8, 2002 8:23 AM   Subscribe

"The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS)" is the Trade Association for "America's favorite brands of distilled spirits." They try to promote pro-liquor causes such as reducing tariffs on alcohol and increasing the number of states selling it Sunday. Here is where it gets interesting: their site is at: www.discus.health.org/ which is (obviously) a subdomain of health.org. If you go to health.org there is no mention of DISCUS involvement. The health.org 'about' page implies that the site is jointly run by several Federal Agencies. Health.org itself seems devoted to stopping drugs in their seedy illegal tracks. Take a look at: "Marijuana: Weeding out the hype" or this "Prevention Alert" which suggests "Skewed articles can be used in the classroom to provide 'teachable moments' in seeking the facts about... ecstasy." Is it troubling that "the trade association for... America's favorite brands of distilled spirits" is operating behind the scenes of the 'government sponsored' anti-drug site with no disclosure? Would it be too jaded to conclude that when health.org commands teens: "If you're smoking marijuana--stop!" that the puppet master is more worried about the fierce competition presented by non-alcoholic drugs than they are genuinely concerned about the health.org of young people?
posted by limitedpie (22 comments total)

 
Terrific post, limitedpie. A great question, fully backed up. Fwiw, it's obvious that there's some good old competition going on here. Is it so terrible that the Government supports the legal competitor, i.e., the one it makes an enormous profit from?

Disclosure: I don't like marijuana or hashish but love spirits. Same goes for the respective cultures. So I couldn't be more biased. My experience here in Portugal, though, is that people who drink also smoke marijuana(both are legal and stigma-free). Anything that bends your mind pleasantly, with no noticeable quick departure from reality or socializing(i.e. not heroin)or immediately dangerous health consequences(i.e. coke), tends to make you curious about the whole family of socially acceptable drugs.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:42 AM on March 8, 2002


It breaks my heart to see two wonderful substances at odds. I suggest they do some cooperative crossover spots instead.

"Sinsemilla and Jack Daniel's:Two Great Tastes that taste great together!"
posted by jonmc at 8:46 AM on March 8, 2002


In 1998, nearly 77,000 people were admitted to emergency rooms suffering from marijuana-related problems. This was an increase of more than 373 percent since 1991.

i'd be curious to see a break down of reasons why these patients were admitted and the involvment of marijuana. . .
posted by Dom at 8:47 AM on March 8, 2002


I did not know that marijuana was legal in Portugal, maybe I should move, got a spare room miguel? What other places have legalized marijuana? I know of Amsterdam of course.
posted by bittennails at 8:50 AM on March 8, 2002


wow it's like an institutionalized racket.
posted by kliuless at 8:52 AM on March 8, 2002


This is really bizarre. Really, really bizarre.

I work at a prevention agency (private, not-for-profit, but we do have contracts with the state for federally funded programs), and everything that's on the main health.org site appears to be legit. The trade group part, that's weird. I honestly don't know what to make of it. Looking at the site map, there's no evidence that DISCUS is there, either.

I've brought this to the attention of my boss, who doesn't know what to make of it either. I think he's going to tell our web person about it, and maybe she'll know what the deal is. Very disturbing.
posted by eilatan at 8:55 AM on March 8, 2002


It seems to be legal in Zurich (Switzerland) where there are stores that sell it. One store in the niederdorf area of Zurich uses planters of full grown pot plants to prop open its doors. I don't know what the law actually is though.
posted by plaino at 8:58 AM on March 8, 2002


In Switzerland, smoking, growing, and selling marijuana is the equivalent of jay walking in the US.
posted by Werd7 at 9:12 AM on March 8, 2002


About Amsterdam. It's actually pseudo-legal, that is, officially it's illegal, but it's "tolerated" very generously. Once I was smoking in a koffeeshop (hash bar), and I stepped outside with the joint. The owner asked me to come back in, pointing out that there was a police station across the street. Of course, they knew the shop was there, but there was an "understanding" at work that the cops had no interest in bothering him, while he wasn't going to rub their faces in it.

Also, Amsterdam is merely one city in the country that is The Netherlands. The laws and leniencies on hash, pot, and prostitution exist all throughout the country.
posted by bingo at 9:19 AM on March 8, 2002


I've sent an email to the webmaster of the site, asking her what the deal is. Not sure if I'll get a response, though.

According to our web person here, the company that maintains the health.org site is a subcontractor for the federal government, not actually an office of the feds. But Prevline/NCADI is a national resource for information about prevention. This strikes me as fairly worrisome, to say the least.
posted by eilatan at 9:34 AM on March 8, 2002


Pot is seen as competition.

Go read some articles about the banning of Absinthe and you can find the influence of the Wine industry. Absinthe cocktails were cutting into wine sales. Same thing.

It breaks my heart to see two wonderful substances at odds. I suggest they do some cooperative crossover spots instead.

amen, jonmc. Amen.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:50 AM on March 8, 2002


In 1998, nearly 77,000 people were admitted to emergency rooms suffering from marijuana-related problems.

I don't smoke pot, but whevever I see attribution this weaselly you know getting the author to explain it would be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

"Admitted to emergency rooms"? Not the same thing as being admitted to hospitals, which would mean there's a recognized health problem. I'd guess that phrase could include anyone who told the intake nurse they'd smoked marijuana, whatever the nature of their complaint that evening.

"Marijuana-related problems"? Again, the word used is problems, not injuries or medical conditions. Note to file: patient shows inordinate fondness for Twinkies and Cheetos, contributing to advanced obesity.
posted by sacre_bleu at 9:51 AM on March 8, 2002


Whoever follows up on this, please post your findings.
posted by 4midori at 10:07 AM on March 8, 2002


Sinsemilla and Jack Daniel's:Two Great Tastes that taste great together!

Or maybe:

"Hey, you got your pot in my liquor!"
"You got your liqour in my pot!"

I dunno what the end product would look like though...
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:14 AM on March 8, 2002


Reefer's Cups!
posted by kindall at 10:22 AM on March 8, 2002


When Oregon was preparing to vote for Medical Marijuana, the largest amount of money came from The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, in opposition of course. The liquor industry has the same roots as the gaming industry, they are just supposedly legitimate now with their lobbying and PACs, etc.
Humboldt Green Skunk, Wild Turkey, Pizza and Chocolate Ice Cream: The four food groups; To your health!
posted by Mack Twain at 10:23 AM on March 8, 2002


mack twain - you forgot Tabasco Popcorn and Chocolate French Fries, two products definitely designed with the pot-smoking demographic in mind.
Hey, maybe the "Legalize Pot" is being secretly funded by the snack-food industry!
posted by jonmc at 10:35 AM on March 8, 2002


[Off-topic, to celebrate the end of font tags:

If Kottke posted this, it would read:

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. (DISCUS).

posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:57 PM on March 8, 2002


From the site drug war facts:
The federal DAWN report itself notes that reports of marijuana do not
mean people are going to the hospital for a marijuana overdose, it only
means that people going to the hospital for a drug overdose mention
marijuana as a drug they use.
source: drug war distortions
posted by 4midori at 6:15 PM on March 8, 2002


I dunno what the end product would look like though...
"It's floor wax"
"It's a desert topping"
"It's both!"
posted by owillis at 6:45 PM on March 8, 2002


By the way, just this week I reread my copy of The Big Book of Vice which tells the whole history of prohibition and the powers at play in a great graphic novel style. Highest of reccomendations.
posted by owillis at 6:47 PM on March 8, 2002


The emergency room statistics are largely the result of the standard questions: does the patient have any drug allergies, take any medication or recently used drugs? If the patient admits to having used cannabis, he/she is one of the 77K--even if it had nothing to do with the emergency that resulted in seeking medical aid.
posted by StOne at 8:59 PM on March 8, 2002


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