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Is the Legalization of Weed Good for the Beer Industry?

The beer industry is afraid people will spend their money on weed instead of beer.


Can beer and blunts be friends? According to Businessweek, early research has shown that the legalization of marijuana has "pointed to a decline" in beer sales. A study from 2012 found that "alcohol sales declined about five percent in states that legalized medical marijuana." An analyst tells CNBC that the two popular vices are also in competition with one another: Many people have a "constrained budget" and if "someone has a fixed amount of money to spend... the more they spend on pot, the less they spend on beer."

However, new data shows that the availability of marijuana so far hasn't had a "significant impact on beer." On the contrary, per-capital beer drinking has seen a "one-time increase of about half a percent in the 10 largest states that have legalized medical marijuana."

Furthermore, states where craft brewing is popular appear to have a positive relationship with marijuana. Colorado — where weed is now legal — is actually the second largest producer of craft beer. Other major craft beer-producing states like Alaska and Oregon are also considering legalization.

Many craft beer producers have also "already embraced the weed buzz" in their marketing tactics. One beer maker has directions printed on their cans for how to transform it into a bong for smoking marijuana. Another brewery has released a beer dubbed "Joint Effort" that is brewed with hemp seeds, but cannot actually get someone high. Perhaps the real harmony between the two industries is to be found in weed-infused beer and beer-flavored blunts.

Regardless of whether or not the legalization of marijuana helps beer sales, one thing is for sure, the pizza industry is the real winner at the end of the day.

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