A new report concerning a reduction in alcohol consumption in the United States coincides with another report that shows that less opioid prescriptions are being filled in states that have legalized cannabis. The investment firm, Cowen & Company, recently reported that specifically binge drinking has slowed in states that have medical marijuana programs and even more so in states that have adult-use cannabis.
The alcohol industry is already very nervous about the cannabis industry eating into their profits. Constellation Brands bought nearly 10% of the largest cannabis company, Canopy Growth, and other groups have sent reports to their investors warning them of future lost revenue.
It was just a month ago that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new data suggesting that more Americans are now engaging in regular binge drinking. What was once considered a foolish exploit of College students has now apparently infiltrated citizens from every demographic and all walks of life.
“In legal adult use cannabis states,” the analysts wrote, “the number binge drinking sessions per month (for states legal through 2016) was -9% below the national average.”
What’s more is legal marijuana states, where adults 21 and older can walk into a dispensary and purchase a variety of cannabis products, experienced 13 percent less binge drinking than areas of prohibition. The writing is on the wall – people with legal access to recreational marijuana are opting to spend either all or a portion of their booze budget on a substance that has been deemed “a safer alternative.”
Most cannabis advocates believe it is wild that alcohol is nationally legal but cannabis is not. Consumers of alcohol and other drugs only have so much capital to spend on intoxicants or the ability to consume them. It is not surprising that the rise of the cannabis industry is eating into both alcohol and prescription drug profits, but it is likely there will be plateauing eventually.