Legal marijuana shown to not impact alcohol sales

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Alcohol suppliers can breathe a sigh of relief as their industry isn’t affected by marijuana

The Distilled Spirits Council has revealed new research that shows that the beverage industry doesn’t need to feel threatened by marijuana. The council reports that legalized marijuana, in at least three states where recreational marijuana is allowed, has not cut into the industry’s bottom line. The DSC represents the majority of the largest distillers in the U.S. and concludes that beer, wine and liquor sales patterns have not been impacted as some reports have claimed, and that they are in line with what is seen in non-legal states.

According to the group’s Chief Economist, David Ozgo, “The same trends we see in those states, we see nationally. There’s no impact we can detect on the sale of distilled spirits or beverage alcohol in general.”

Ozgo was able to analyze data relating to shipping and taxes in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. He pulled data beginning two years prior to the legalization of recreational marijuana in the states and ending three or four years after legalization. He found that, per capita, the sales of spirits increased during the timeframe, rising from 3.6% to 7.6%, depending on the state. Beer sales, however, declined 2.3% to 3.6% and wine sales were both up and down among the three states.

Ozgo explained the reasoning behind conducting the analysis, stating, “We did this study because there is a lot of misinformation circulating about the impact of recreational marijuana legalization on distilled spirits and the wider alcohol market.”

Cowen and Company, which only yesterday reiterated its positive position on marijuana, has said that 60-70% of current and former marijuana consumers reported that they were less apt to consume alcohol mixed with marijuana.

Ozgo adds, “I’m sure you can find somebody out there who swaps one for the other but when you look at the macro level data and talk to people we use them on different occasions.”