Monday, 14 January 2019

Pot smokers happy to also enjoy a drink or two

The legalisation of marijuana in American states has not damaged liquor sales, a new survey shows.

Observers expected that the marijuana legalization trend in the US would impact liquor sales, but that hasn't been the case in the three states where spliffing has been legal the longest.

Overall industry trends remained consistent, according to the Distilled Spirits Council, which did the study. Spirits sales went up in the three states — Colorado, Oregon and Washington state — although wine and beer stayed on their mixed to negative course, CNBC reported.

"At this point, we've seen no impact on spirit sales from legalised recreational marijuana," said Chris Swonger, the DSC's CEO.

The council analyzed per-capita alcohol sales in the three states for the two years prior to marijuana being legalized and up to four years after using state-level alcohol tax receipts and shipment data. Sales of spirits increased in all three states, from 3.6% in Oregon to 7.6% in Colorado.

Wine sales were up in Colorado and Oregon, but down in Washington state. Beer sales, which have been losing market share to spirits and wine over the last decade to begin with, were down in all three states.

"The trends in alcohol have been fairly consistent regardless of whether or not you have legalized recreational marijuana in a state or not," said David Ozgo, the council's chief economist.

The study found that overall sales of spirits, wine and beer were roughly flat. Colorado was up 1.7%, while Washington state and Oregon were down 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively.

Ten US states and Washington, DC, have legalized recreational marijuana. Several more are considering legalisation in 2019.

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