MMJ Associated with a 15-Percent Drop in Alcohol Sales

By David Jenison on February 13, 2018

PRØHBTD previously listed the alcohol industry (among others) as having a vested interest in slowing the momentum of cannabis legalization, and a new study reinforces why Big Booze should be concerned. "Helping Settle the Marijuana and Alcohol Debate: Evidence from Scanner Data," published by the Social Science Research Network, examined data on alcohol purchases between 2006 and 2015, and then looked for changes in the states or counties that legalized medical cannabis. The finding? 

"Counties located in [medical cannabis states reduced monthly alcohol sales by 15 percent," the study found. "Notably, this result is consistent across several empirical specifications…. With respect to aggregate alcohol sales, we conclude there is evidence indicating that marijuana and alcohol are substitute goods."

Interestingly, wine sales took the most immediate hit after MMJ legalization, albeit by a small margin, but after two years, hard liquor sales led the decline, followed by beer sales. 

The researchers noted that legalization might positively impact various health risks associated with alcohol, such as drunk-driving injuries and fatalities. Likewise, a literature review by the researchers noted several studies that reached similar cannabis-alcohol conclusions, including one that found "significant decreases in alcohol consumption and binge drinking" following the implementation of medical cannabis laws.  

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