Alcohol Sales Dropped By 15% In States With Medical Marijuana

by greenrush
alcohol sales

A new study has emerged that claims decreased alcohol sales in the US appears to be directly related to the rise of states with medical marijuana laws.

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Researchers at two US universities and one in South America took data from Nielsen Retail Scanner alcohol sales from 90 alcohol chain stores including grocery, convenience, drug, and mass distribution stores. The joint study, presented by Michele Baggio, University of Connecticut, Storrs; Alberto Chong, Georgia State University, Atlanta and Universidad del Pacifico, Lima; and Sungoh Kwon, University of Connecticut, Storrs, compared alcohol sales in states that do not have medical marijuana laws against states with medical marijuana programs in place (before and after they were implemented).


The research also looks at factors such as age, race, and income for the purpose of the study as those areas also have a measurable impact on alcohol consumption.


Over the ten years studied, counties located in medical marijuana states showed almost a 15 percent reduction in monthly alcohol sales.


The study has offered insight into how the alcohol industry could be expected to perform amidst a growing number of states implementing medical marijuana programs. It also provides a means by which to speculate on how recreational cannabis sales may further affect alcohol sales.


Medical marijuana accounts for only a small percentage of legal marijuana sold to people across the United States. Nine states have legalized weed for recreational use, most recently, Vermont. It is believed that recreational cannabis sales would have an even bigger impact on the alcohol industry.


Another aim of the study appears to have been to determine whether legalized marijuana promises to replace alcohol consumption altogether. The jury is still out on that question. But in a recent Webinar concerning the state of the wine industry, host Rob McMillan, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division president, joined by two wine industry guests stated flatly they see no evidence and do not believe legalized marijuana will be a major substitute for wine consumption. McMillan pointed out that beer is more likely than wine to suffer sales reductions. His reasoning: wine compliments a meal, marijuana doesn’t.


Legalized marijuana may not be the sole nail in the coffin for the alcohol industry. People are increasingly concerned about their health and with more research being dedicated to the benefits of marijuana, weed in increasingly becoming the better option. Whilst it is unlikely that some as ingrained in our culture as alcohol consumption will ever completely disappear, cannabis could give the industry a run for its money.