State Alcohol Regulation, Debate Over Marijuana Legalization Discussed on Day Two of Seventh Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference

CHICAGO, IL – The Seventh Annual Center for Alcohol Policy (CAP) Alcohol Law and Policy Conference kicked off day two at the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. This annual event brings together a wide range of experts in the field of alcohol law – including attorneys, current and former alcohol regulators, academic thought leaders, public health advocates and other experts – to discuss and debate current alcohol laws and challenges.

Michele Simon of Eat Drink Politics led a discussion about marijuana legalization and alcohol, focusing on rhetoric versus reality. Panelists included Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University; Matt Cook, former senior director of enforcement for the Colorado Department of Revenue; and Mary Segawa, health education liaison for the Washing State Liquor Control Board. They spoke about the ongoing debate surrounding marijuana legalization and the relevance of alcohol regulation to the current debate. Specifically, the panelists discussed the recent implementations of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington state, along with the science and parties behind each state’s policies.

Beer Distributors of Massachusetts Executive Director Bill Kelley led a discussion of state alcohol regulators from California, Illinois, Massachusetts and former Arizona alcohol regulator and CAP Advisory Council member Jerry Oliver. The current and former alcohol regulators discussed trends and observations from their perspective, including budget challenges and regulating a growing, diverse industry. The panel discussed the problems of conflicting industry agendas and state legislative direction. The panel highlighted how the alcohol industry is a regulated industry, which means regulators need to note when regulations are violated.

The conference concluded with a discussion of legal developments in alcohol retailing moderated by Hospitality and Alcohol Beverage Group Chairman Anthony Kogut. American Beverage Licensees Executive Director John Bodnovich and University of Miami School of Law Professor Dr. Stephen Diamond discussed high profile legal cases that are winding their way through the federal court system, as well as the changing face of the alcohol retailing industry. They specifically addresses such legal issues as residency laws, where alcohol can be sold and limits on licenses.

More details on speakers, education session topics and the symposium program can be found at Click here to read a summary from day one of the conference, and read live updates from the event on Twitter using the hashtag #CAPLaw.


The Center for Alcohol Policy is a 501 c (3) organization whose mission is to educate policy makers, regulators and the public about alcohol, its uniqueness and regulation. By conducting sound and scientific-based research and implementing initiatives that will maintain the appropriate state-based regulation of alcohol, the Center promotes safe and responsible consumption, fights underage drinking and drunk driving and informs key entities about the effects of alcohol consumption. For more information, visit or follow the Center on Twitter at


Subscribe to the RSS Feed
Center for Alcohol Policy
277 S. Washington Street Suite 500-A Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 519-3090