With the widespread legalization of cannabis taking hold after the historic Nov. 2016 state votes, the news just keeps getting worse for the alcohol industry. They knew it would happen, too, which is why the alcohol lobby – predicting a $2 billion loss in revenue – engaged, and mostly failed, in a campaign to keep pot illegal.
A Dec. 2016 report has already shown the effects, as three states with legal recreational cannabis are seeing beer markets shrinking. A new survey suggests this trend is going to get much more pronounced, with the younger generation turning to cannabis as the recreational substance of choice.
The survey, titled California Millennials Say No to Alcohol and Yes to Marijuana, found that an astonishing percentage of millennials – meaning those born from about the early 1980s to the early 2000s – will be choosing cannabis over alcohol.
Millennials will be more open to diversity in their consumption of recreational substances than older generations, with more than 50% of them substituting cannabis for alcohol altogether.
The study further shows that one in five Generation Xers will be substituting cannabis for alcohol, as will 8% of baby boomers.
These numbers are especially significant, considering that almost 39 million people live in California and the state’s economy is bigger than that of some countries. The alcohol lobby is surely shaking in their boots, looking for lawmakers willing to work against the will of the voters for the right price.
The reasons given by survey respondents for choosing this beneficial plant over alcohol are just as interesting – and encouraging.
In regards to safety, many expressed the fear of making poor decisions when consuming alcohol, which included driving over the legal limit.
Cost also came into play, with many stating that their overall spend on alcohol outstrips that of high quality cannabis.
Finally, health was stated as a factor when substituting cannabis for alcohol. Participants shared that the effects of a hangover from alcohol lasted the entire next day, while high volumes of cannabis usage had no noticeable lasting effects; thereby making them feel healthier and more active.
All of this reflects a larger understanding among people that it is time to end pot prohibition. Results from a Quinnipiac University National Poll, published on 4/20, found the highest ever support among voters for legalization.
The survey found that 94 percent of U.S. voters support legalizing medical cannabis, while 60 percent support recreational legalization. It also found that people overwhelmingly oppose government enforcement of federal laws against cannabis in states that have legalized recreational or medical cannabis.
If the Trump administration follows through with its hints at escalating the war on weed, it’s a sure-fire way to infuriate the masses. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems mired in the Reefer Madness era, with a track record of promoting falsehoods about the supposed dangers of cannabis.
Alcohol has enjoyed decades of being the government-approved recreational drug, after the disastrous Prohibition era. Government soon learned it could reap massive profits from alcohol through extortion fees (licensing) and so-called “sin taxes.”
But it appears alcohol’s status is changing quickly with pot legalization, and people will be safer for it. About 88,000 people died from excessive alcohol use over a four-year period, and alcohol-impaired driving killed almost 10,000 in 2014.
Meanwhile, no one has ever died from excessive cannabis ingestion, and the impairment factor is not even close to alcohol. Some studies have shown little to no driving impairment from cannabis, but of course, this depends on a person’s frequency of use. People arrested for ‘driving while high’ are convincing juries that they were not, in fact, impaired.
The markets are changing quickly, and will be very interesting to watch as cannabis legalization continues. Surveys like the one described above are a sure indication of where to put one’s investment money.
Top chart via Outco