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What Does the Rise of Cannabis Mean for the Alcohol Industry?

As different states and countries continue to lift prohibition laws on medical cannabis, the use and demand for alcohol continues to decline. The effects of legalization of marijuana is growing in leaps and bounds each year and is proving to be quite stiff competition to what was once the king of the hill in the mind-altering substance industry – alcohol.

Why Consumers Are Choosing Cannabis Over Alcohol

For one, cannabis has proven health benefits that are now backed by scientific studies. Then there’s the fact that consuming cannabis won’t damage your liver or cause a terrible hangover the next day.

Consuming cannabis leads to positive states like feeling relaxed, mellow, peaceful and even slightly euphoric. Meanwhile, alcohol use typically leads to an unpredictable mix of emotions that cause users to act in self-destructive ways that may endanger others as well.

Alcohol vs. Cannabis

While the cannabis industry is still in its infancy, savvy investors have already started pouring funds into cannabis start-ups and cultivators. However, this hasn’t changed the public perception about cannabis and that’s probably the biggest challenge facing the industry right now.

Even in jurisdictions where the prohibition of marijuana has been lifted, cannabis businesses find it difficult to secure loans from banks or even process transactions from legal cannabis businesses due to the legal grey areas still left from the prohibition days. That’s why you’ll find that most cannabis businesses only accept cash or cryptocurrencies.

Now, this is despite the fact that the cannabis industry is projected to reach $6.5 billion in sales by 2020 in Canada alone. Meanwhile, the Canadian CIBC bank reports that the country’s liquor industry only made $5.1 billion in 2017.

The exciting thing about the cannabis industry is that it’s constantly introducing new and innovative products that we haven’t seen before, and this is in addition to the amazing benefits that these products provide. Cannabis is also versatile enough to transcend into other industries including textiles, construction, medicine, food, and agriculture.

As a result, cannabis is giving alcohol a run for its money because there’s nothing the alcohol industry can do to surprise the consumer anymore, unless collaboration happens between the alcohol and cannabis industries.

Otherwise, the future seems bleak for the alcohol industry, as stats show that only a minority of the general public is consuming alcohol. Most people are opting to either decrease alcohol consumption or cut it out altogether because of its adverse health effects.

Not only that but a joint study by the State University of Georgia and the University of Connecticut shows that alcohol demand and use tends to decline rapidly in regions where cannabis has been legalized. This is especially relevant in places where prohibition has been lifted on the sale and use of recreational cannabis. It’s like people just can’t wait to enjoy their cannabis openly and have it made available on a wider scale.

Alcohol and Cannabis Working Together?

Although there will always be a demand for alcohol, that industry now has to share a sizeable part of the market with the cannabis industry, and the separation of cannabis and alcohol in sales outlets only serves to widen the rift between the two.

The fact that alcohol consumption is now associated with adverse health effects means that even more people will be looking for healthier alternatives like cannabis to “set the mood” when socializing.

The only solution is for the alcohol industry to collaborate with cannabis in a way that benefits both, and this seems to already be happening. Not only does Corona producer Constellation Brands own a minority stake in Canopy Growth, but the Canadian cannabis cultivator Aurora Cannabis received a sizeable investment from Molson Coors not too long ago.

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