According to Wall Street research firm CFRA Research, alcohol companies should expect a drop in sales following legalization, as more Canadians switch from alcohol to marijuana. This change is expected to occur partly because of shared usage concerns, and partly because some consumers are likely to view marijuana as a complete alternative to alcohol.
A shift away from alcohol, and towards marijuana, is good news for the health-care system, the federal and provincial budgets, and the Canadians who depend on them.
When More Weed is Available, People Buy Less Alcohol
Research shows that when marijuana is readily available, alcohol consumption falls. When researchers looked at retail sales data for beer and wine in US states that had legalized weed, they found that sales fell by 9% immediately after legalization, and continued to slump to 13% below average levels two years later. This trend was consistent across states and bordering counties, indicating that it is more than just a coincidence.
In Canada, this trend is expected to be compounded by the fact that marijuana is becoming more and more acceptable among Canadians. Since 1961, household spending on marijuana has increased by roughly 6% per year, while the price of buds has fallen from $12 per gram in 1989, to $7.50 in 2016. Moreover, marijuana is becoming more popular with older segments of the population that typically have more spending power. While 45 – 64 year olds accounted for just 4% of cannabis spending in 1975, they made up roughly 23% of sales last year.
Less Alcohol Means Less Disease, and Less Health Care Spending
From the perspective of public health, reducing Canada’s alcohol consumption is a positive development. Alcoholic drinks can have immediate negative effects on the immune system, heart, brain, liver, and pancreas. Moreover, alcohol has been linked to cancers of the throat, mouth, esophagus, liver, breast, and stomach. Regular consumers of alcohol also risk serious damage to their heart in the form of high blood pressure, arrhythmias, and strokes. By reducing the public’s desire to drink, and providing them with alternatives, federal and provincial governments can reduce the cost burden of treating conditions related to alcohol consumption.
As health care costs fall, this money can then be put to better use within the local economy. For instance, while Canada imports the majority of its liquor, and shares liquor profits with companies in numerous other countries, it produces all of its marijuana locally. Moreover, Canadian marijuana companies are looking to begin exporting product to other countries within the next couple of years, leading to more financial benefits for Canadians. Supporting the marijuana industry creates local jobs, increases local investment, and generates more local tax dollars.
So if you’re feeling patriotic, or you just want to get high, forget about alcohol, and check out our shop for a variety of marijuana products that can scratch your itch!