2 Days, 2 Conflicting Headlines: Mainstream Media Misses the Point on Pot

In back-to-back days at the end of last week, mainstream media outlet Forbes released two completely conflicting headlines in a baffling succession that beautifully illustrates a couple of key points when it comes to cannabis culture.

As cannabis reform has spread across the country, and now across the globe, “reputable” mainstream news outlets like Forbes have taken notice. Once that Cannabis Dollar became a Good Dollar, they began to invest in hiring freelance writers from all walks of life to write about weed for their white collar audience.

So you get what we got last week.

On January 10th, we were all treated to this headline ‘Despite Conflicting Evidence, A New Report Finds Legal Marijuana Does Not Impact Alcohol Sales’.

The article goes on to cite findings from the Distilled Spirits Council in which their research determined that alcohol, wine, and beers sales in the states with the longest running recreational cannabis laws (Colorado, Oregon & Washington) show no impact on the sales of booze due to weed, and instead, basically mirror the same trends seen nationwide.

The following day, on January 11th, the same news outlet but a different might-as-well-be-anonymous author spills this headline ‘Surging Cannabis Use Drags Down Beer Sales To Its Lowest Ebb, Says Top Analyst’.

So, which is it?

If you dig deeper into the article released on the 10th, you’ll find that beer sales specifically did drop in those three states in the time since they legalized the adult use of cannabis.

Beer sales fell a bit, wine stayed about the same, and hard liquor sales actually jumped a bit making for a relatively flat line of overall sales.

The article out on the 11th cites predictions from an analyst by the name of Vivien Azer of Cohen & Company.

Clickbaity syntax-be-damned headlines aside, the two articles seem to both reluctantly be saying that beer sales are down since 2014-ish, but they fundamentally disagree with why that is happening.

One article blames weed, one specifically states that weed has nothing to do with it.

So here is one of the key points that we mentioned at the top.

News outlets should always remain objective, especially when covering cannabis. But they should also speak with a unique editorial voice, rather than just throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. If there is a Right and a Wrong side of a story, presenting them equally to “let the reader decide” is a disservice.

What is a naïve reader supposed to decide after reading these two conflicting back-to-back articles from the same reputable news outlet?

The other key cultural point that gets highlighted in this dartboard journalism is that maybe, just maybe, cannabis and alcohol are nothing alike and the constant comparison between them is confusing as fuck for new or potentially new consumers and lawmakers alike. Hell, it even has the crack reporting staff over at Forbes chasing their tails.

So, what’s the answer?

Is legal cannabis impacting booze sales? How about car sales? Or unicorn sales?

They are all equally relevant, in our opinion.

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