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Why Alcohol Companies Should Warm Up To Cannabis

on 20/05/14 at 8:03 am

Booze News

indexThe booze industry has fought efforts to make marijuana more widely available, but a new study suggests that stance is misguided.

FORTUNE — According to recent polls, a majority of Americans now support legal, recreational pot use. But not everyone’s on board. Count big alcohol companies among the naysayers.

Though booze purveyors are not universally opposed to legalization, alcohol distributors were one of the main forces fighting California’s 2010 push to legalize recreational cannabis use. And the beer, wine, and liquor industry has donated tens of thousands of dollars to vocal opponents of pot proliferation in Congress, like Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

The logic behind this opposition is pretty simple: If pot is more widely available, then consumers might choose it as a substitute for alcohol.

But according to a study published Wednesday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, it appears that in places where medical marijuana became legal in recent years, alcohol consumption has actually increased. Emory University-based researchers used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2004 to 2011, looking at states that implemented some form of medical marijuana legalization over those years.