Medical Marijuana States See Reduction in Alcohol Sales


A joint study by researchers at two U.S. universities and one in South America claim a reduction in the U.S.’s overall alcohol consumption appears directly related to the rise of medical marijuana laws recently enacted in a number of states. Presented by Michele Baggio, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs; Alberto Chong, Georgia State Univ, Atlanta and Univ. del Pacifico, Lima and Sungoh Kwon, University of Connecticut, Storrs, the working paper may add to what many believe will prove definitive regarding the relationship between wine and marijuana consumption.

The research for this study made use of available Nielsen Retail Scanner alcohol sales data from 90 alcohol chain stores—grocery, convenience, drug, and mass distribution stores—from 2006-2015. They did it this way because they believed asking consumers does not provide reliable information, as many people simply don’t tell the absolute truth about their alcohol consumption habits.  

Using the 90-chain data, the study compared alcohol sales of states that do not have medical marijuana laws and states with medical marijuana laws (before and after the laws were implemented). The researchers also included demographics (age, race) as well as economics (income) for the study because those areas make 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 overall conclusion of the study is that marijuana and alcohol are strong substitutes for each other. In other words, they share almost the same audience. If that’s true, then it stands to reason that introducing legal marijuana where alcohol consumption is legal may very well result in a negative effect on alcohol sales. 


More: Forbes

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