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Study: Alcohol Web Searches Drop After States Legalized Marijuana

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A new study conducted at University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business found that web searches for alcohol-related keywords decreased by 10.9% in states that have legalized adult-use marijuana.

The study analyzed online searches, advertising click-through rates and advertising revenue between 2014 and 2017 to reach this conclusion, Forbes reported.  The data consisted of over 27 million online searches and 120 million ad impressions relating to the marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol industries.

The study, surprisingly, found that cannabis legalization increased tobacco-related online searches, ad impressions, and advertising revenues.

“We can infer a reduction of 10.9% in alcohol searches after recreational cannabis legalization relative to the average of the pre-treatment period,” the study noted. “Historically, both alcohol and tobacco companies have been actively sponsoring/supporting campaigns against recreational cannabis legalization because they are strongly concerned that legal marijuana may pose threats to them. However, our results suggest that tobacco companies may need to re-examine their presumption and that anti-cannabis legalization is not in their best interest.”

Based on this study, marijuana legalization may pose a large threat to the alcohol industry while possibly, and inadvertently, revitalizing the tobacco industry.