Why Are Millennials Dropping Alcohol For Marijuana?

Study shows young Americans are making the safer choice as marijuana legalization spreads.

Millennials
Photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

California twentysomethings are making the switch from alcohol to marijuana and as legalization spreads across the country, millennials across the nation will follow the trend.

A study released earlier this year,  produced by OutCo, a Southern California-based, cannabis company in partnership with Monocle Research, shows that more than 50 percent of Californians aged 18-29 are substituting cannabis for alcohol.

“We found that for millennials, the choice between the two main recreational substances, alcohol and tobacco, has always been an easy one. Growing up with anti-tobacco messaging, the smoking rate for 18-29 year olds in the U.S. has dropped by 22 percent over the past decade, leaving alcohol as the substance of choice,” said OutCo CEO, Lincoln Fish. “But we are already seeing a decrease in alcohol sales, which means that cannabis is poised to be the new recreational substance of choice for many millennials and beyond.”

The study also revealed these findings:

  • Beer was the most popular substitution, with 34 percent of millennials saying they will opt for cannabis over beer.
  • 18 percent of millennials will substitute cannabis for wine.
  • 14 percent of the millennial population will substitute cannabis for spirits.

And it’s not just the younger generation making the shift to cannabis. The study showed that one in five Generation Xers will be substituting cannabis for alcohol and 8 percent of baby boomers.

The main reasons for making the switch? According to the survey of 2,000 marijuana users in the state, safety, cost and health were key factors.

In regards to safety, many expressed the fear of making poor decisions when consuming alcohol, which included driving over the legal limit.

Cost also came into play, with many stating that their overall spend on alcohol outstrips that of high quality cannabis.

Health was also stated as a factor for the switch.The effects of a booze hangover was more debilitating than overindulging on cannabis, the survey participants said. Marijuana made them feel healthier and more active.

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