Alcoholic beverage sales fell by 15 percent in states that adopted medical marijuana laws (MMLs), according to a paper by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University posted online at SSRN November 2. Here’s the abstract:

We use data on purchases of alcoholic beverages in grocery, convenience, drug, or mass distribution stores in US counties for 2006-2015 to study the link between medical marijuana laws and alcohol consumption and focus on settling the debate between the substitutability or complementarity between marijuana and alcohol. To do this we exploit the differences in the timing of the of marijuana laws among states and find that these two substances are substitutes. Counties located in MML states reduced monthly alcohol sales by 15 percent. Our findings are robust to border counties analysis, a placebo effective dates for MMLs in the treated states, and falsification tests using sales of pens and pencils.

Cite Baggio, Michele and Chong, Alberto and Kwon, Sungoh, Helping Settle the Marijuana and Alcohol Debate: Evidence from Scanner Data (November 1, 2017).

Thanks to Dr. Nancy Sajben for bringing this to our attention.