Various studies and experts have claimed that by legalizing the use of marijuana, the government can create a more favorable environment for citizens to live in.
It may even lead to a dramatic decrease in alcohol sales.
In theory, consuming alcohol is considered to be extremely hazardous for the individual involved as well as those around them.
The physiological effects created by drinking regularly is extremely high as it could lead to liver failure and could entirely disrupt the functions of an average human being.
In comparison, taking drugs such as marijuana is considered a safer option to get stoned because they originate from plants with less harmful physiological effects.
Besides, experts opined that people who are stoned are less abusive and threatening to society, as they typically don’t indulge in domestic violence or other disruptive activities whereas alcoholics often tend to harm other people more than themselves.
Based on these claims, it was also believed that if states all states accept the legalization of marijuana then there could be a decrease in alcohol sales, leading to a peaceful environment on several levels.
Researchers were unsure whether legalizing marijuana would compliment alcohol sales or outsell them.
To put an end to the rumors, a group ogf three researchers worked on a project studying how both these drugs compliment each other, and how sales trends play into the findings.
The researchers didn’t opt for any complicated methods.
Instead, they simply went with select states in the U.S. where medical marijuana is legalized and measured how much alcohol was sold in these regions.
They also measured sales in each county within a state.
The result of the study was as expected—states which have medical marijuana laws in place witnessed significantly lower alcohol sales.
In-Depth Analysis of Marijuana Study
The researchers didn’t immediately come to a conclusion and went even further in their analysis.
They studied alcohol sales in states where medical marijuana laws were not in place in the past, and they also examined how the sales numbers changed after the laws were implemented.
After thoroughly analyzing multiple states and the sale trends in different counties, they submitted a concise report that clarified the doubt people have had all these years.
Their statement suggested that they had managed to come to a conclusion that state-level legalization of marijuana has had a significant effect on sales of alcohol.
These drugs are strong substitutes to one another—people have a notion that if they have access to marijuana, they are not interested in consuming large quantities of alcoholic beverages.
Counties in which medical marijuana laws were in place witnessed a 15 percent dip in alcohol sales.
More specifically taking into account beer and wine, the decline in sales also dropped when marijuana was added to the mix: when people had immediate access to marijuana, sales of beer dropped by 13.8 percent and wine by 16.2 percent, which proves that the theory works, but with its fair share of caveats.
An Accurate Marijuana Study?
While the results of the study might sound extremely accurate, the trio of researchers added that they conducted the study using Nielsen scanner data because they couldn’t gain access to what people purchased online.
The drop in sales was only through stores which sell them.
A lot of other factors affect this reduction in consumption including lack of employment, a given financial situation, the total population in the particular county and average household income.
With so many factors affecting the final output, it does prove to a certain extent that marijuana, when legalized, has the power to have an effect on alcohol sales.
However, on the other hand, it could lead to more people consuming marijuana on a regular basis which may invariably affect their psychological self, leading to unemployment, loss of touch with family members and social detachment from the rest of the world.
The researchers proved their point through statistics that the ability to get stoned can be done in different ways and medically approved drugs may have less physical effects in the long run when compared to drinking alcohol, but it also proves that medical marijuana laws are a good thing from a health policy perspective.