As medical marijuana becomes legal in more states the alcohol market is declining. Researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University collaborated on a study and found there to be a 15% decrease in alcohol sales in medical marijuana states.
The study is in line with others as it indicates that marijuana legalization reduces alcohol consumption rates, The Washington Post reports. Experts continue to agree that alcohol is more damaging to people and society than marijuana.
The study concluded that, “We find that marijuana and alcohol are strong substitutes for each other. Counties located in [medical marijuana] states reduced monthly alcohol sales by 15% after the introduction of medical marijuana.”
The researchers used information from Nielsen’s Retail Scanner database that tracks sales from participants. It allowed the team to collect data from 90 different retailers from all across the country. The researchers took into account that many alcohol users fib about their actual alcohol consumption and report using less than they actually do.
Several factors went into the conclusion. Researchers compared sales from alcohol in states where medical marijuana is legal, where it isn’t and those that have legalized recently, thus studying before and after legalization. Economic and demographic variables were also included where necessary to determine age, race and income.
While this doesn’t indicate what impact recreational marijuana legalization has on alcohol sales, it leads researchers towards the notion that recreational marijuana legalization will very likely decrease alcohol sales and consumption.