Medical marijuana becoming available in U.S. states led to a noticeable fall in alcohol sales, a recent study finds.

Researchers looked at retail sales data for beer and wine in the aftermath of states passing laws that legalized medical marijuana, and in counties that bordered on them. Two years after medical marijuana became available, sales had fallen by 13 per cent.

Other attempts to look at the links between alcohol and marijuana had relied on people’s own estimates of their alcohol consumption, which are notoriously unreliable, says Georgia State University economics professor Alberto Chong, one of the study’s authors.

“[Previous] studies tried to answer the question using subjective surveys. We use actual data about sales, which is much better. That’s hard data — we know the exact number of sales per store.”

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