The histories of marijuana and alcohol in the United States have often shared many parallels. Both were readily available for all to use, were often incorporated in social occasions and sometimes even used as forms of medicine. However both substances were made illegal across the country due to alleged “moral” concerns despite their popularity and public outcry.
These changes in policy had quite the opposite effect of what was intended as prohibition made both substances even more popular and created a very lucrative business for the criminal underworld. Objectively, all they really accomplished was an increase in the overall crime rates across the country and to turn regular folks into criminals in the eyes of the law just for wanting to enjoy themselves. As evidenced by the overturning of prohibition in 1933, the abject failure of the war on drugs and successful state legalization efforts, the people have spoken in favor of allowing adults to make their own choices regarding these substances.
Similar to the bootleggers of the “roaring twenties” when alcohol prohibition was the rule across the U.S., marijuana growers and smugglers have worked clandestinely to bring the people what they want regardless of the legality of the matter. Of course where there is money to be made you will often find innovation and similar to how bootleggers and moonshiners tweaked their recipes to produce new types of brews, growers throughout the years have been producing some of the best cannabis strains out there.
While legalization continues to be on the rise, cannabis culture seems to be in some ways mirroring the current craft beer craze. Similar to the popular tap-rooms that are popping up everywhere nowadays, most dispensaries are carrying a wide variety of locally grown marijuana strains and other cannabis products for patrons of discerning tastes to choose from. Another common thread that can be found in both worlds is pride and dedication to the craft. It doesn’t matter if it’s a perfectly balanced IPA or an inventive new twist on cannabis edibles, there is a passion and appreciation for the product that can be found among most bar and budtenders even if they are not the end users.
More recently, we are seeing cases where both cultures are coming together in harmony. For example, some brewers are dabbling with adding hemp, THC, CBD, etc. to their mixes hoping to bring together the best of both worlds. Notably, Colorado’s famed New Belgium brewery has recently released an India pale ale that brings together hops and hemp to create a fragrant beer. While very much like your standard IPA’s with regards to flavor, it has the distinctive aroma of cannabis to it. Although alcoholic drinks that contain marijuana as part of their ingredients are not all that new, this is the first time a large scale brewery has tried using hemp as part of the recipe for one of their beers.
Few things in life go as well together as an ice cold brew and some good greenery but please be sure to enjoy both responsibly!