retail marijuana

Beer sales are falling in states that permit the sale of retail marijuana to adults, according a recent report by the New York-based research firm Cowen & Company

Their analysis indicated that beer sales by several of the larger domestic producers, such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, have “collectively underperformed” the past two years in Colorado, Oregon and Washington State. “With all three of these states now having fully implemented a [marijuana] retail infrastructure, the underperformance of beer in these markets has worsened over the course of 2016,” they concluded.

Denver is taking the biggest hit with a 6.4% decline in beer sales. The national beer consumption decline is between 2.4%–4.4%.

In July, MarketWatch reported that adults spend about the same annually ($645) on marijuana products as they do on alcohol.

A 2014 scientific review published in Alcohol and Alcoholism posited that cannabis primarily acts as a substitute for alcohol rather than as a complement: “While more research and improved study designs are needed to better identify the extent and impact of cannabis substitution on those affected by AUD (alcohol use disorders), cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol.”


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About Paul Armentano

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and a Senior Policy Advisor at Freedom Leaf. He also serves on the faculty of Oaksterdam University. Mr. Armentano’s writing and research on marijuana policy have appeared in well over 750 publications, scholarly and/or peer-reviewed journals, as well as in more than two dozen textbooks and anthologies. He is the co-author of the book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (2009, Chelsea Green), which has been licensed and translated internationally, and more recently, The Citizens’ Guide to State-by-State Marijuana Laws (Whitman Books, 2015). Mr. Armentano is the 2013 Freedom Law School Health Freedom Champion of the Year and the 2013 Alfred R. Lindesmith award recipient in the achievement in the field of scholarship.

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