Marijuana Soda: Why the Sugar Bothers Me More Than the Pot

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Canna Cola is the new soda in town, but it has so much more than sugar and water in the mix. Canna is made of THC -- the active ingredient in marijuana -- and will likely be oh-so-appealing to those "budding" teenagers who will be drawn in by the fun logos and colorful bottles. And the bud, too.

How is this legal? Well, it's medical. And only available in Colorado (where medical marijuana is legal). There will not be bits of weed floating around in your soda, either. These are regular sodas with a light marijuana taste.

There are four drinks in the line: the Dr Pepper-like "Doc Weed," the lemon-lime "Sour Diesel," the grape-flavored "Grape Ape," and the orange-flavored "Orange Kush." The new sodas will retail for between $10 and $15 per 12-ounce bottle.

And quite frankly, if it weren't for the soda part, it wouldn't even bother me that much.

Clay Butler, who is behind the soda, says he has never smoked pot in his life, but he believes people should be allowed to if they want. I agree. If drugs were legal, we could tax it and make money from it, rather than losing so much of it fighting it. We could also regulate it better.

Still, I wouldn't want my children drinking this soda when they get older. But my problem isn't with the THC part. It's with the soda part.

And I am not alone.

Butler is a partner in a company that is poised to move aggressively in a market that could one day be enormously popular by combining pot with soda pop, two products widely seen as scourges by many Americans -- though those upset by one tend to be approving or indifferent to the other, says the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

I am in that camp. I am indifferent to pot, but I think soda is evil. This isn't to say that I would want my children to smoke dope every day or waste their life away to a drug that gives them the munchies (and makes them eat way worse things than soda), messes with their motivation, and screws up their lungs. But I do think that marijuana has its place and that experimenting with it is a normal part of teenage rebellion and behavior.

As a parent, my job is to encourage them to make good choices, but I am also not going to lie to them and tell them I never experimented. I did. And I still managed to go to a top college and get into graduate school and become a mom and a professional. There are safe ways to experiment and it isn't always a "gateway." I would never provide them with marijuana or push it, but I am also not going to freak out on them if they tell me they tried it in college. I expect they likely will.

I would freak out if they started drinking soda, though. It's a waste of money and calories, has contributed in innumerable ways to the obesity epidemic, rots teeth, and contains god knows how many awful chemicals. And the problem is, it's prolific. I have known far more people addicted to drinking soda than addicted to marijuana.

I watched someone I loved die from cancer. Marijuana can alleviate the nausea from chemo and help with some of the other ill effects. Hemp is a strong fiber made from the cannabis plant and there are studies showing numerous ways pot helps medically with pain and other chronic issues with certain conditions.

There are positive things about marijuana. There is nothing positive about soda.

Experimenting with pot -- smoking it once every few weeks -- is not the same thing as drinking soda. It's perfectly acceptable (to some) to down multiple quarts of soda a day. That cannot possibly be better for you than pot.

Look, in a perfect world, my kids wouldn't partake of either. But if I had to choose one, I would so much rather they smoke a joint or two in college when they are otherwise decent kids than drink a lot of Coca-Cola filled Big Gulps.

Which do you see as worse?

Image via Editor B/Flickr

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