Last month, researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University found that states with medical marijuana legalization have seen alcohol sales plummeting. The study looked at purchases of alcohol in the US from 2006 to 2015 and compared it to data from states with marijuana legalization laws to determine if one substance was used as a substitute for the other. Their findings confirmed it.
In some states where legalization laws had passed, alcohol sales dropped up to 15 percent. This is significant, as the consequences for alcohol use are typically found to be more severe than for marijuana use (de la Cretaz, 2017).
Eaze, a cannabis technology company, did similar research regarding the effects of marijuana on alcohol and opioid use. Of the people surveyed, “87 percent said they had reduced their drinking because of their cannabis use and 13 percent said they had replaced alcohol completely with cannabis” (de la Cretaz, 2017). Even more staggering, 95 percent of opioid users surveyed reported reducing their use in exchange for cannabis, and 26 percent reported stopping opioids entirely.
Additionally, “A recent study in the American Journal of Public Health concluded that marijuana legalization in Colorado had resulted in short-term reductions in opioid-related deaths. Other research has corroborated this trend, noting that fewer prescription painkillers are prescribed in states where cannabis is legal” (de la Cretaz, 2017).
de la Cretaz, B. (2017). Alcohol sales fell in states with medical marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/alcohol-sales-fell-states-medical-marijuana