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Does Medical Cannabis Access Reduce Alcohol Sales?

Ontario, Canada: The adoption of medical cannabis access in Canada was associated with reductions in alcohol sales, according to data published in the journal Health Policy.

A Canadian researcher evaluated the relationship between medical cannabis legalization and retail sales of alcohol in various regions of the country over an eight-year period.

The author determined: “This study found a significant negative association between legal medical cannabis sales and liquor store alcohol sales: each cannabis sales dollar was associated with an average alcohol sales reduction of between $0.74 and $0.84. The negative association was robust with respect to several alternative modeling choices.”

He concluded, “From a public health perspective, the results likewise imply that reductions in alcohol-related health impacts might partly offset the increased cannabis-related health impacts that legalization might bring.”

A 2017 analysis of US beverage sales identified a similar decline in alcohol sales following the adoption of statewide medical cannabis legalization laws, as did a 2021 assessment of Youth Risk Behavioral Survey data. By contrast, a more recent study evaluating the impact of adult-use legalization laws in the United States reported an association with increased alcohol use those age 21 and older.

Full text of the study, “Relationship between sales of legal cannabis and alcohol in Canada,” appears in Health Policy.

Source: NORMLmake a donation