When many states including California chose to legalize the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes among adults last year, many people gave varying opinions about the impact that the move will have on the alcohol industry. Unlike in the past when marijuana was illegal, nowadays one can acquire it for medical or recreational. It, therefore, means that from the time of legalization henceforth, cannabis will be in the same category as alcohol and cigarettes. But unlike them, cannabis has another benefit in the medical field. That’s why to some people, the legalization of the drug looked like a move to reduce alcohol sales. To find out whether that’s true, some studies have been carried out by various research bodies. However, the findings vary, and it’s, therefore, difficult to say whether the legalization will reduce alcohol sales. In fact, in some instances, the volume of alcohol sold rose rather than declining.
What’s the Relationship Between Cannabis and Alcohol?
Both alcohol and marijuana are psychoactive substances, but each has its unique qualities. Though some people think that they can be used in place of each other, the fact is that that’s not true because they serve a little bit different functions. As a result, comparing the two and saying that one affects the other might not be correct. The number of sales for alcohol might not have anything to do with marijuana legalization. Studies carried out in states where medical/recreational is legal have proved that the move to legalize weed has no relationship with the decline or increase in the sale of beer and other alcoholic drinks. That’s attributable to the fact that marijuana legalization is driven by the fact that weed has awesome health benefits.
Not all studies have, however, found the same results. Some studies concluded that alcohol was underperforming in a state where medical cannabis is legal. Besides that, the studies also found that local brewers and sellers of alcohol started reporting low volumes of sales once weed was legalized in their state. While some were reporting a decline in their sales, others were experiencing an increase. So which side should we believe bearing in mind that the studies are giving a little bit controversial findings and conclusions? Well, from the medical point of view, there’s no solid background or reason to link alcohol with marijuana. The only common thing is that they can be used and are, in fact, being used by some people as recreational substances. So there might be other reasons that play a role in determining the volume of alcohol sales. Marijuana does not have a direct impact.
Alcohol Sales Are Influenced by Other Factors But not Marijuana Legalization
As already said, the ending of cannabis prohibition that has lasted for many decades won’t hurt alcohol sales a lot. If a brewer reports a decline, then it might be due to other reasons and not necessary cannabis legalization that has been taking place in many US states. With the right location and the right names on your shelves, you can still make a large volume of sales for your beer. So there’s no need for alcohol businesses to get worried because marijuana is now legal in many states. Though some people might turn to marijuana, the fact is that the two cannot replace each other. You won’t find somebody switching to marijuana because they have missed alcohol. If they switch to it, then it’s because they had missed the drug but not necessarily because they are substitutes.
Consumers don’t consume alcohol and marijuana at similar rates. The average adult spends approximately $645 every year on alcohol. On the other hand, the average marijuana user spends approximately $640 every year. From that, we can say that the two can’t affect each other so much. They are related in the sense that adults consume them for recreation. In fact, some studies show that the two are enjoying almost equal attention in states where recreational weed is legal. For medical marijuana, relating it to alcohol won’t make sense because people don’t take alcohol mainly for medical purposes. It would be, therefore, not right to say that medical marijuana affects sales volumes for alcohol.
The legalization of marijuana means that we’ll be having a new substance being consumed for recreation to add on those that were already legal like alcohol. But since marijuana has some benefits when it comes to health and healing power, we cannot say that its entry into the list of legal substances will affect alcohol. Marijuana use in California and elsewhere at the moment is mainly for medical purposes but not majorly as a recreational substance. Therefore, those in the alcohol industry should not worry a lot about it. If you have a large customer base and you are meeting their needs, then there’s nothing you need to be afraid of since there won’t be much impact on your business.