New Study Confirms Medical Cannabis Legalization Could Reduce Alcohol Sales

According to Michael J. Armstrong, a management professor at Brock University, Canadians purchased 1.8% less cannabis between 2017 and 2018 than they would have had they been unable to obtain medicinal marijuana.

The paper, which examined data from 2015 to 2018, went so far as to suggest that such an impact on marijuana patients’ purchasing patterns could change the types of health issues Canadians face. The study, which was published in the journal Health Policy, went so far as to state that its findings “indirectly imply that reduced alcohol consumption might have partly offset cannabis legalization’s health and economic impacts.”

Importantly, Armstrong was keen to point out that the results did not necessarily imply that the change toward legal medical marijuana resulted in fewer alcohol sales or that it was totally favorable. Armstrong told MJBizDaily that decreased alcohol-related health issues might be accompanied by an increase in cannabis-related ones. “And reduced alcohol tax revenues may counteract governments’ new cannabis tax revenue.”

Young People – Less Booze

However, studies on young people discussing patterns of cannabis and alcohol use support the inferred negative link between medical marijuana and alcohol consumption. A group of cannabis users between the ages of 14 and 25 was divided into two groups in 2021 by a research team made up of individuals from Harvard Medical School, Loyola University, and the University of Miami. One group was given money to stop using marijuana for four weeks, while the other was told to carry on as usual. Both groups kept track of their alcohol use.

Which group claimed to have consumed more alcohol? Within the first week of the experiment, 60% of the abstainers increased their alcohol consumption.

Study From 2019

In a study conducted in 2019 at the University of Pennsylvania involving 300,000 participants, it was discovered that persons self-reported being in better health in states where medicinal marijuana was legal. The macro-level findings indicated that the significance of medical cannabis varied across demographics, with a disparity that was particularly pronounced among those with only a high school degree, “non-whites,” and those who suffer from chronic pain.

According to a University of Chicago study, once adult-use marijuana became legal in Washington State, there was a 15% decrease in the demand for alcohol, especially beer and wine.

A research released in the journal Health Economics earlier this year claimed that insurance premiums decreased by “$820 million annually” in places where medical marijuana is authorized.

Government leadership actively encourages people to use medical marijuana instead of alcohol in some regions. The Oglala Sioux Tribe, whose community is located in South Dakota, is one Indigenous group that has decided that medical marijuana should take precedence over alcohol. Over a century ago, the Ogala Sioux forbade the sale and consumption of alcohol, but in 2000 it became the first region in South Dakota to allow recreational marijuana.

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