Candy Industry Blog

Are sugar and pot about to flip roles?

Poll shows Americans believe sugar is more harmful than pot. Confectionery industry should start panicking now.

March 12, 2014
Marijuana vs sugar and candy

Um, you guys, the confectionery industry is officially losing the public relations battle over here, and I’d say it’s time for all of us to PANIC!!

A new Wall Street Journal /NBC News poll asked Americans to pick the most harmful among four substances, and more people chose sugar than marijuana!

This is bad people. Really, really bad. 

Crystal Lindell
Crystal Lindell

I mean, I guess the good news is that Americans did say that tobacco and alcohol was worse than sugar, so we’ve got that going for us. But still, marijuana should not beat sugar guys. It just shouldn’t happen.  

Specifically, the poll asked Americans to pick the most harmful of four substances, and 49 percent said tobacco, 24 percent said alcohol, 15 percent said sugar, and 8 percent said marijuana.

The worst part isn’t even the poll results themselves though. The worst part is how the Wall Street Journal framed the results.

Their headline was all, “WSJ Poll: Candy Is Dandy But Pot Is Less Harmful.” And then, they led the story with, “What’s worse for your health: a candy bar or a joint? The new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll produced a surprising answer. Sugar.”

Ug. The whole thing is just one big slap in the face of the confectionery industry.

First of all, the poll doesn’t even include what many believe is the real culprit of obesity, saturated fats.

But more importantly, marijuana is a banned substance that's still illegal in most states! It’s so bad for you that you still can’t get a job if it shows up in your urine! And, it’s so bad for you that you can go to jail for selling it!

Alas, Americans are being so wooed by marijuana these days, and all this talk of legalization everywhere, that they are forgetting that pot is a drug!

Medical marijuana is one thing, but claiming it’s safer than sugar is quite another. Yes, it can relieve severe pain, yes it can help with PTSD, and yes it can relieve nausea.

But that doesn’t mean everyone should go have an after-dinner joint in lieu of an after-dinner mint. According to MedlinePlus, a website database of medical drugs,

“Marijuana can cause problems with memory, learning, and behavior. Smoking it can cause some of the same coughing and breathing problems as smoking cigarettes. Some people get addicted to marijuana after using it for a while. It is more likely to happen if they use marijuana every day, or started using it when they were teenagers.”

Not to mention the fact that everyone I ever met who smoked pot on a regular basis also gained a ton of weight. It’s called the munchies folks, and it’s real thing. And I’d go so far as to argue that it’s a way bigger cause of obesity that a candy bar.

Sure, sure, MedlinePlus delicately dances around the issues, by saying, “ THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is approved to stimulate appetite in severe weight loss caused by AIDS.” But if even if you’re healthy, it still stimulates your appetite.

Not to mention the fact that if Americans really do believe that sugar is worse for you than marijuana, does that mean it’s headed for the same regulation as pot? Are the two about to flip roles? Will some states be outlawing it all together? Is it going to become impossible to get a job if you have sugar in your system? Will you have to buy your sugar from some random sugar dealer down on the corner?
These might seem like crazy scenarios now, but a poll showing that Americans think sugar is worse for you than marijuana seemed even more insane to me as recently as last night.

All this is to say, the confectionery industry really is losing the public relations war. And if we don’t do something soon, we might wake up in a world where possession of candy could mean 5-10 years behind 



Image Galleries

A Venetian Carnival, a Jelly Belly sculpture and gourmet chocolates! Oh my!

Candy Industry takes you into the French Pastry’s School For the Love of Chocolate event in Chicago, held Feb. 25.

Candy Industry Magazine

candy may 2015

May 2015

Check out the May issue, featuring products from Sweets & Snacks Expo, how Enstrom's rebranding looks promising, and more!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Healthier Food Options

A recent Nielsen report shows that consumers are calling for healthier options from food manufacturers. Do you think consumers will actually buy healthier versions of their favorite candy and snacks if they’re made available?
View Results Poll Archive

Candy Industry Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\Candy Industry\natural-food-flavors-colora.gif
Natural Food Flavors and Colorants

Although many foods are appealing, and even perceived as natural, in spite of containing synthetic additives, consumer increasingly prefer food products which are fully natural.

More Products

Candy Industry's Kettle Awards

Kettle Awards

Since 1946, Candy Industry magazine has recognized leaders in the U.S. confectionery industry with the highest recognition possible, the Kettle Award. The distinguished recipients have captured this most coveted award by not only excelling within their companies, but by contributing to the greater good of the industry. It’s virtually a who’s who of past and present professionals who have left their mark as confectioners and business mavens. Learn more about the voting process as well as the annual Kettle Awards Ceremony by visiting our Kettle Awards Website


fb40   twitter 40    youtube40    linked   Google+

Clear Seas Research

Clear SeasWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.