Survey: One In Four Beer Drinkers Prefer Pot Instead

By Bryan Le 03/20/17

The legal cannabis industry is set to grab a chunk out of the beer industry's market.

Marijuana and beer, recreational relaxation.

One in four Americans would rather kick back and relax with pot than beer, a study finds.

The Cannabiz Consumer Group surveyed 40,000 Americans and found that 27% of beer drinkers have spent beer money on marijuana, or would spend beer money on marijuana, if their state legalized it.

Market analysis by Cannabiz predicts that the United States’ growing cannabis industry will pull $2 billion in retail sales away from the beer industry. While that sounds like a lot, it only amounts to about 7.1% of the beer industry’s revenues, according to the group.

As more states legalize pot, more money flows into the industry. About 24.6 million Americans bought legal marijuana last year, a number that isn’t predicted to stop growing anytime soon. They don’t think it’s just a fad, either.

Marijuana consumers, they say, tend to be more invested and methodical in their purchases, getting to know the differences between strains and consumption methods as they relate to different uses, including pain management or simple relaxation. The Cannabiz group expects the pot industry to fully mature at a value of $50 billion, almost half the value of the $100 billion beer industry.

The group remains optimistic despite the very real possibility that the Trump administration could roll back progress in pot legalization. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General, has said that pot use is only "slightly less awful" than heroin use.

“Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life,” Sessions said at a recent event in Richmond, Virginia. 

Cannabiz isn’t the only group confident about pot’s takeover of the beer industry’s customer base. The non-marijuana-centered research group, Cowen & Company, has noted a drop in beer sales in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state after marijuana was legalized there. Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada have joined the ranks of legal cannabis states, and the trend of consumers switching over to pot is likely to continue.

While a drop in drinkers would mean fewer drunk drivers, experts still debate the safety of stoned driving. But what can be said with certitude is that after legalization, the state of Colorado saw record lows in traffic fatalities.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter