US states are increasingly legalising the recreational use of cannabis

US states are increasingly legalising the recreational use of cannabis

A new analysis of US government data has suggested that cannabis legalisation lowers binge drinking.

In a study of new CDC figures, analysts at Cowen & Co found that US states that legalised the drug prior to 2017 have binge drinking intensity rates that are 13% lower than in non-cannabis states. The rates are 9% below the national average.

Newly-legalised states such as California and Nevada currently have higher rates of binge drinking compared to the national average. But those levels are expected to fall now that cannabis is available, according to the analysts at Cowen & Co that collated the study.

Cowen said it is "reasonable to assume" that as more US states legalise cannabis, the country's overall alcohol binge drinking intensity will fall.

The analysis is based on the CDC's first annual report on binge drinking, launched late last month and published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. In the study, binge drinking is considered four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in one occasion.

California fully legalised the adult use of cannabis at the start of this year, while Nevada did the same 12 months earlier. The states were the seventh and eighth to fully legalise the drug.

The dropping of laws against cannabis has sparked interest in what this will mean for alcoholic beverages. A study from Cowen last year noted that in each of the leading three cannabis states in the US, tax generation from alcohol sales has slowed.

The value of the US cannabis market is already exceeding some exceptions. A previous estimation from Cowen that it would reach US$50bn by 2026 was this week upgraded because new forecasts suggest the market is already that size. Cowen now estimates the cannabis market in the US will be worth $75bn by 2030.

Cannabis is still illegal under federal US laws.

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