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Federal ban of "LSD Ale" shows corporatist consequence of overregulation

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The hallucinagen LSD has been illegal in the United States since the 1960s, and apparently in the fatherland of free speech, that means you can’t even name things “LSD” either.

From the Pioneer Press by way of Reason comes the story of “LSD Ale”, or at least that’s what it used to be called.

Call it what you want, but Indeed Brewing Company can no longer market or label its seasonal spring honey beer as LSD Ale.

The feds made the brewery change the name of its Lavender Sunflower Date (that’s where the acronym came from) Honey Ale so that the acronym was no longer apparent.

The brewery did not face federal regulation until it started to cross state lines, and for a while, when Indeed was selling only in limited Wisconsin markets, they kept that particular beer in Minnesota. Regulators were concerned that the name implied there were drugs in the beer.

It’s unclear what federal agency mandated this sophomoric overaction, likely the FDA or ATF. Regardless, the insanity and hipocrisy is self-evident.

Why is the federal government concerned about products that might (but definitely don’t) make people think there are illegal drugs in them? If the products don’t have illegal drugs in them, what is the harm done by that (entirely mythical) suggestion?

You know what used to actually have drugs in it? Coke. Hence the name.

Coca-Cola was originally formulated with cocaine. Until the drug itself was banned in 1929, the beverage still used a small amount of coca leaf extract in its syrup. Why hasn’t the federal government forced them to change the name of their signature beverage and indeed the Coca-Cola Company itself?

The answer is simple – Coca-Cola is one of the largest coporations in the world. It’s by definition immune from and innoculated against regulation. Indeed Brewing Company, a local brewery in Minneapolis, is not.

Coca-Cola spends millions of dollars every year on lobbying and direct contributions to politicians. Every year they ship the equivalent of over 2 billion gallons of its signature product in the US alone and make $44 billion in revenue. Some meddlesome federal bureaucrat is not going to tell them to rename the third most popular brand in the world.

And if they did, Coca-Cola would find a way around it. That’s what big corporations do. That’s what they’re designed to do – absorb the cost of regulation. Small businesses, like locally owned breweries, find that kind of burden actually punitive.

Indeed Brewing planned to have “L.S.D.” on shelves this month, through June. Presumably having to redesign and reproduce their packaging, and re-can that product will put a crimp in those plans.

I suppose no cost is too great to keep hapless Americans from seeing the name of an illegal drug…on a can of the best selling and most dangerous (but completely legal) drug in the world.


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