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Cannabis Outperforming Alcohol Growth, Cowen Finds

December 6, 2022

Cannabis sales are expected to outpace beverage alcohol sales in the U.S., according to Cowen analysts. The report, from Cowen’s Vivien Azer, estimated the U.S. cannabis market at $26 billion in sales this year. That makes it 10% the size of the alcohol market, but that’s up from 2% just five years ago.

Cannabis sales growth will outshine that of alcohol this year, Cowen estimates, but the effect of cannabis consumption on alcohol sales is mostly manageable in the near-term. Alcohol sales growth lags cannabis by 0.6% to 1.1% across various states that have enacted legalization.

Whether legalization will hurt beverage alcohol sales has been a subject of much debate and thus far evidence has been inconclusive in either direction, with contractions in craft beer sales, for instance, being virtually identical across states irrespective of the legal status of cannabis. Still, Cowen’s survey found that 60% of cannabis consumers report scaling back their alcohol consumption.

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