Is Legal Marijuana Hurting Alcohol Sales?

Medical marijuana Alcohol Sales

Researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University have found an interesting link between legal medical marijuana and alcohol consumption.

Ever wonder why the alcohol industry has spent big money on lobbying against marijuana legalization? Perhaps they have good reason to fear legal access to marijuana.

Now that 29 states have legalized, substantial data on medical marijuana’s social impact is starting to emerge.


A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut and the University of Georgia State examined how legalized medical marijuana is impacting alcohol sales. The study found that some medical marijuana states saw a reduction in alcohol sales of up to 15 percent.

Researchers acquired their data from the Nielsen Retail Scanner database. They were able to compare alcohol sales from states that have legalized medical marijuana vs. states that have not. They were also able to go back and compare alcohol sales for states both before and after they legalized medical marijuana.

The findings are in line with developing trends other studies have noted. As The Fix notes,  Eaze, a technology company that helps to facilitate deliveries of marijuana, recently looked at the alcohol consumption habits of medical marijuana patients. Of those patients who consumed alcohol, 87 percent reported a reduction in drinking. Approximately 13 percent cut out alcohol entirely.

While the news may not be great for liquor companies, there could be many benefits to a country that drinks less. Besides the drastic side effects that long-term alcohol consumption creates,  LiveScience estimates that binge drinking costs U.S. taxpayers about $224 billion per year. Traffic fatalities and DUI’s have dropped in states that have legalized medical marijuana. While no one yet knows for sure, it seems that fewer people are driving under the influence of alcohol in those states. However, stoned driving is still dangerous and is not without risk of fatality.