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Daily marijuana use exceeds alcohol consumption, according to new study

In this photo illustration, dried cannabis flowers are shown on April 30, 2024 in San Anselmo, California. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced plans to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug and designate it as a Schedule III controlled substance instead of a Schedule I drug, where it is currently listed.

Justin Sullivan | fake images

Americans look for buds more than alcohol.

Daily or near-daily marijuana use is now more common than similar levels of alcohol consumption in the United States, according to 40 years of data analyzed by Carnegie Mellon University.

The report analyzes US data from more than 1.6 million participants collected in 27 surveys between 1979 and 2022.

Although overall alcohol use remains broader, daily first-time marijuana use surpassed same-frequency use in 2022, with approximately 17.7 million cannabis users and 14.7 million drinkers.

This represents a 15-fold increase for cannabis since 1992, when 900,000 Americans reported using the drug daily compared to 8.9 million daily drinkers.

“We believe, and the data clearly indicates, that the younger demographic cohort is increasingly accepting cannabis for daily and monthly use at a higher rate than other generations,” said Roth MKM analyst Scott Fortune.

“Given that there are indications that consumers are substituting other pleasurable uses (alcohol, tobacco), we believe that as younger generations grow up with legal cannabis options, cannabis acceptance will become more prevalent and replace traditional options. “he added.

This report comes as the cannabis industry hopes the DEA will ease federal restrictions and reclassify marijuana, which would increase access to funding, research and investment opportunities for cannabis-related companies like tilray, Canopy growth and Curaleaf.

The spirits and alcohol industry, however, has been working to defend its market share despite changing trends among younger consumers.

“From an alcohol standpoint in the United States, younger consumers of legal drinking age are turning to alcohol less frequently, and when they do drink it, it’s fewer drinks,” said Bill Kirk, an analyst at Roth MKM.

Kirk said there have been growing trends that are contributing to that, including increased abstinence from drinking, better availability of quality non-alcoholic options and increased cannabis consumption.

“From a cannabis standpoint, we wouldn’t say alcohol will necessarily be affected by this trend, but we would look for alcohol to partner with, invest in, or acquire cannabis in the U.S. when federal regulations allow it to capitalize on anticipated growth. of the industry,” Fortune said. .

However, some Wall Street analysts expect a bigger impact on the alcohol industry from the adoption of cannabis.

“We estimate that legal cannabis could be negatively impacting beer volume (compound annual growth rate) by up to 230 bps in Canada and 75 bps in the United States, where it is legal,” said Bernstein analyst Nadine Sarwat, referring to the basis points (bp). One basis point is equal to one hundredth of a percentage point.

He added that conflicting state-by-state cannabis policies soften the blow for major brewers and distillers like constellation marks, Diageo, AB InBev and Molson Coors.

“Federal legalization has the potential to increase the risk for alcohol, but this seems a long way off in the current political climate,” Sarwat said.

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