Vaune Dillmann, a 61 year old ex-cop in Weed, California, has run afoul of the Federal Government. Dillman, owner of Mt. Shasta Brewing Co., says he was just trying to grab attention for his beers by emblazoning his bottle caps with the slogan "Try Legal Weed".
On the bottle caps in question, "Try Legal Weed" is surrounded by the slogan "A Friend in Weed Is a Friend Indeed." To Dillmann's supporters, that spells civic boosterism, not drug pushing.
Weed has a tradition of exploiting the double-entendre of its name. A sign on the way out of town announces "Temporarily Out of Weed." Gas stations sell "High on Weed" T-shirts.
Big Brother is not amused. The U.S. Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau says those three little words allude to marijuana use.
"This is ludicrous, bizarre, like meeting Big Brother face-to-face," Dillman said recently. "Forget freedom of speech and the 1st Amendment. They are the regulatory gods, a judge and jury all rolled into one. This is a life-or-death issue for my business." Besides, he said, the town itself was named for a man, not a plant. Abner Weed was a lumber baron who served as a state senator from these parts a century ago.
But the agency does intend to keep an eye out for alcoholic beverage labels violating the regulatory rules, said Art Resnick, a federal spokesman. Dillmann's label faux pas, Resnick said, was twofold: "We consider it to be a drug reference, and find it to be false and misleading to the consumer in terms of what may or may not be the properties contained within that product," Resnick said.
What irks Dillman most, he says -- even more than the feds' lack of a funny bone -- is what he considers a double standard. While stomping on him, Dillmann says, the government treats Budweiser with kid gloves, despite the fact that "This Bud's for You" also could be mistaken for marijuana slang." They sell Bud. We sell Weed," he said.
"What's the difference?"
From The LA Times