‘Breaking The Booze Habit’: Why Cannabis WILL Rival Alcohol as Preferred Social Drug

‘Breaking The Booze Habit’: Why Cannabis WILL Rival Alcohol as Preferred Social Drug
‘Breaking The Booze Habit’: Why Cannabis WILL Rival Alcohol as Preferred Social Drug

  • Alcohol is a $1 trillion per year industry that is now in permanent decline
  • Cannabis has long-term potential to claim MOST of this market share
  • It would only require consumers to shift 1/7th of their alcohol consumption to (legal) cannabis to produce an additional $150 billion per year in cannabis revenues
  • Growing health perils of alcohol use are forcing more and more consumers to reduce consumption or quit altogether
  • Cannabis is the substitute-of-choice for alcohol consumers 
 
In the United States, cannabis is a “Schedule 1” narcotic, equated with heroin and LSD. Alcohol, on the other hand, is perfectly legal. How messed up is that?

Alcohol is toxic and addictive. It poses numerous health risks and (directly and indirectly) is responsible for more deaths than heroin and LSD combined.

Cannabis is non-toxic and non-addictive. It has never killed anyone. And it is on a clear path (over the long-term) to take the majority of market share from the alcohol industry – a $1 trillion per year revenue pie.

Just a small shift in consumption from alcohol to cannabis would add an additional $3+ billion per year in cannabis revenues in Canada. In California, a similar shift in consumer behavior would generate approximately $4.2 billion in additional cannabis revenues. More on this later.

The light bulb is just beginning to turn “on” with governments with respect to the numerous, important reasons to encourage people to choose cannabis rather than alcohol as their preferred social drug. Consumers are light years ahead of the politicians.




A recent NPR article illustrates this enormous gap.
 
Breaking The Booze Habit, Even Briefly, Has Its Benefits
 
…And while there is virtually no downside to taking a break from drinking alcohol — or quitting altogether — science is just beginning to study the ways abstinence might be good for you.

Short breaks improve health

So far, there are a handful of studies that point to some benefits of abstinence for even moderate drinkers — in addition to the widely recognized benefits for people who have alcohol use disorder.

A 2016 British study of about 850 men and women who volunteered to abstain from alcohol during Dry January found that participants reported a range of benefits. For instance, 82 percent said they felt a sense of achievement. "Better sleep" was cited by 62 percent, and 49 percent said they lost some weight.

Both sleep deprivation and obesity are at epidemic proportions. For consumers who want to sleep even better and lose more weight: try some cannabis.

Cannabis has long been known as a potent sleep aid. Research is also showing strong indications that cannabis use helps to boost metabolism – and thus promotes weight loss.

Consumer attitudes reflect such research.

In the United States, a full two-thirds of the population now support fully legalized cannabis. This includes majorities from all political stripes.

In Canada, where there is less political/social resistance to cannabis usage, consumers are enthusiastically turning to cannabis as a substitute for alcohol. TSI has previously reported on this, via a May 20, 2019 report from Cowen Equity Research.
 
  • 70% of Canadian consumers who consume both cannabis and alcohol report reducing their alcohol consumption as a result (compared to 64% of U.S. consumers)
  • In giving their reasons for using cannabis, 41% of Canadians explicitly use cannabis “as an alternative to alcohol”

Alcohol industry in decline

Alcohol is a $1 trillion per year industry. But due to mounting health issues associated with alcohol use, this is an industry that has now begun a permanent decline.

Alcohol consumption has now fallen for four consecutive years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018). This is despite continuous happy-talk within the alcohol industry that continues to “predict” that this trend will magically reverse itself.

Because alcohol is toxic (i.e. poisonous) it is “contra-indicated” (dangerous) in conjunction with numerous pharmaceutical drugs. The U.S. is the world’s most heavily-medicated population – thanks to Big Pharma.

More than half of all Americans report regularly taking one (or more) prescription drug. Combining many of these drugs with alcohol equals an early grave.

Non-toxic cannabis, on the other hand, isn’t contra-indicated with respect to any pharmaceutical product. It’s so safe that it can be used by opioid abusers with opiates as they attempt to wean themselves off of these killer drugs.

It’s a very clear consumer choice.

Consume alcohol:

- Create immediate health issues
- Risk serious long-term problems and/or death
- Much more dangerous in combination with other drugs

Consume cannabis:

- Alleviate health issues
- No risk of serious long-term health problems
- No additional health risks in combination with other drugs

Alcohol is also notoriously the cause of violence, domestic strife, and other crime. Cannabis is associated with none of this. It is a civilized recreational drug.

Consumers want to switch from booze to pot. If they do so, they will get healthier – reducing healthcare costs and freeing up valuable healthcare resources. All that is standing in the way of this trend is government.

Deep ignorance toward cannabis at the political level still remains in both the United States and Canada.

In the U.S.:
 
Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island), however, said that while unequal enforcement is wrong and he doesn’t want to see anyone arrested for smoking marijuana, no one is talking about the health and public safety concerns of legalizing marijuana.

“Right now, the state is saying, ‘It’s OK to do it,’” Lanza said. “This is going to hurt people.”
[emphasis mine]

In Canada:
 
Bill Blair, the minister of border security and organized crime reduction…is also responsible for enacting the [Canadian] government’s cannabis policy…

“It's not the government's intention to promote the use of this drug but rather to make it legally available in a well-regulated manner to reduce the social and health harms often associated with cannabis use,” he said.
[emphasis mine]

These are senior politicians who simply continue to make-up anti-cannabis fairy tales – fairy tales derived from 100 years of cannabis Fake News from the mainstream media.

Billions in additional cannabis revenues on the table

This lack of comprehension of the potential of cannabis and the cannabis industry extends into the cannabis industry itself. Even the most bullish projections on the future of the cannabis sector reflect a profound under-appreciation of the potential of the cannabis industry.
 
Global Cannabis Market Will Hit $150 Billion By 2025

If governments in North America and around the world continue to embrace cannabis legalization rather than obstruct it, the global cannabis industry could generate those revenues as an alcohol-substitute alone. It would only require consumers to shift 1/7th of their alcohol consumption to (legal) cannabis to produce an additional $150 billion per year in cannabis revenues by 2025.



Let’s put this into context.

StatsCan reported total Canadian alcohol sales of CAD$22.1 billion (2017). If 1/7th of those revenues were diverted to cannabis that would be an additional CAD$3+ billion in Canadian cannabis sales. In California, another fully legal market, a similar shift would generate USD$4.2 billion in additional cannabis revenues.

That’s the equivalent of consumers simply substituting cannabis for their alcohol consumption one day per week. A minor (but healthy) move. A big boost for the cannabis industry.

Indeed, if governments actually chose to promote cannabis usage over alcohol (through favorable tax treatment), they could rapidly accelerate the transition from alcohol usage to cannabis.

Then there is the potential of cannabinoid-based drugs to revolutionize the global pharmaceutical industry ($1 trillion per year in revenues), as a superior health supplement (dietary supplements projected to reach $278 billion by 2024), and as a safe, potent additive in a potentially infinite number of foods and cosmetic products.

There are also thousands of known uses for industrial hemp.

Cannabis has the clear potential to revolutionize not merely one, but several major global industries. It is on a long-term path to become a trillion dollar per year sector. Replacing alcohol consumption is just one way in which cannabis can claim major market share and generate massive revenues.

And as cannabis is displacing existing products in these trillion dollar and multi-billion dollar industries, informed investors stand to profit immensely.