California heshers will have a stiff choice to make pretty soon, because the California Beer & Beverage Distributors association is opposing the state's upcoming proposition to legalize marijuana. Beer sellers have long been opposed to legalizing pot because of the feared impact on sales, and onlookers are waiting to see if liquor/wine dealers and pharmaceutical interests claim a stake in this debate as well. Local microbrews Sierra Nevada and Stone Brewing Co., which have become national brands in their own right, are pro-legalization and have lashed out at the CBBD for its decision. Stone has even removed itself from CBBD's listings over it. Prop 19 has become a microcosm for how confusing and hopeless California's political landscape really is, so it's hard to say which side of the beer-industry squabble is the right one in terms of brand image. Microbrews cater to a younger, hipper audience, so it makes sense that they'd be pro-pot, but more traditional labels would alienate their joyless, sandbilly consumer base if they sided with the stoners. One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet, though, is that people who enjoy smoking pot might also imbibe from time to time. That's hardly a novel observation. Methinks there are deeper and more sinister forces at play here.