Cannabis Legalization

Is Marijuana Legalization Impacting Alcohol Use? Here’s the Latest Scoop


As Joe Biden, new US President takes over the White House and Kamala Harris as VP, discussions regarding marijuana’s federal legalization are already on the table. The cannabis community will be looking forward to Kamala Harris’s More Act becoming a law and approval of many other cannabis-related bills. For now, four new states ( Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota) have legalized recreational cannabis and it looks like 2021 will be a good year for the cannabis industry.

While cannabis legalization continues to get state approvals as a provider of both therapeutic and recreational benefits, its impact on alcohol usage is worth noting. For quite a few years now, cannabis has made a space for itself. People aged 18 and above use a medical marijuana card to alleviate the symptoms of a variety of conditions. However, cannabis growing popularity has been associated with a decline in alcohol use every now and then.

In this article, we will take a look at the impact of cannabis legalization on alcohol. Understand the reasons behind more and more people choosing cannabis. And discuss each facet with the help of recent studies and surveys.

How Legalization Impacts Cannabis Use?

According to a study conducted by the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, cannabis use has significantly increased after legalization. The study looked at the data from 850,000 students who took part in the survey and self-reported their marijuana use. The researchers also analyzed the data provided by students aged 18-26. And students who attended college in states where cannabis is legal for recreational use.

The data showed responses from students studying in states who have legalized cannabis and states without legalization. Interestingly, the data clearly indicated that cannabis use has increased significantly after states legalized cannabis. In the states with legalization, students were 18% more likely to use marijuana than students who reside in a state where cannabis is still illegal.

The data also revealed that 17% more students were frequent cannabis users and 20 times more likely to consume cannabis in the past few years. While this data was collected from the responses provided by the students from 2008 to 2018, recent findings showed that now students are 46% more likely to consume cannabis, in particular those states which have legalized cannabis recreationally.

Another Pew Center research revealed that the trends regarding cannabis use have changed in the past few years. With only 32% of the people in the US advocating cannabis use for medical purposes in the past, the future statistics have double-folded. From 2012-2018, cannabis use increased from 21% to 34%, and the no. has since spiked significantly.

The authors of the study also went on to say that recreational cannabis use has specifically increased among students aged 21-26. Overall, the studies show that cannabis use has doubled in the past few years. This also means that it has impacted alcohol consumption in some or the other form. Let’s see how.

Cannabis Impact on Alcohol Consumption

Let’s face it, we all know that alcohol use is not good for your health. It has potential side effects and people nowadays are more aware of its dangers. The only difference is that cannabis is viewed in a different light. Several studies in the past have shown how cannabis can help improve certain medical conditions, especially the ones that qualify for medical cannabis use.

With new studies emerging and the nation heading towards legalization, more and more people have started using a medical marijuana card to purchase cannabis. Moreover, there is no doubt about the fact that cannabis is slowly and steadily gaining popularity. Perhaps why people have shifted from alcohol to cannabis. So much so that America reported a 15% drop in alcohol sales between 2007 and 2015.

Final Thoughts

While there are well-known benefits associated with medical marijuana, we have very little evidence regarding the benefits associated with alcohol. These drawbacks outweigh the potential benefits that come along with medical cannabis. Also, it is clear that with legalization and other advances, the marijuana industry has managed to create an important place in the market. With more research and concrete evidence, the marijuana industry will be able to break sales records in the near future.

In light of the COVID pandemic, we advise all our patients to see a doctor online instead of visiting the clinic. Help us flatten the curve by opting for an online 420 evaluation.