As legalization of marijuana grows throughout the United States, so does its popularity with beer drinkers.
About one in four Americans are now spending their money on marijuana instead of beer, new research from Cannabiz Consumer Group found. Twenty-seven percent of beer consumers are legally purchasing cannabis instead of beer, or suggested they would purchase it instead if it were legalized in their state. The research group surveyed 40,000 Americans last year.
About 24.6 million Americans legally purchased pot in the U.S. last year and that number is expected to grow, according to the study. Numerous states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and a smaller number of states have legalized it for recreational use. The Department of Justice under the Obama Administration relaxed federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where it is legal, but the Trump Administration may reverse that trend.
Still, the group predicts the cannabis industry will grow to $50 billion. The U.S. beer market sells over $100 billion in beer each year, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
If marijuana were legalized nationally, the beer industry would lose more than $2 billion in retail sales, the Cannabiz Consumer Group says. The group anticipates the cannabis industry will take just over 7% of the beer industry’s market.
Other studies have supported this concept. As Money reported in 2016, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state contributed to beer sales falling in those states, according to research firm Cowen & Company.
Most recently, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada passed measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana late last year. More than half of U.S. states permit the medical use of marijuana.