Binge Drinking Rates Drop in States with Legalized Marijuana

While Americans are binge drinking at the highest rates ever seen, a new study finds that states with legalized marijuana see less of this dangerous behavior.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last month published a study about binge drinking in the United States. The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in a span of two hours for men, and four or more for women. They found that 37 million Americans, about one in six, engage in this behavior at least once per week, which is the highest rate in history.

However a new report by investment analysts at Cowen found that states with legalized marijuana have lower binge drinking rates than the rest of the country. Specifically, they found that states with legalized cannabis in 2016 had nine percent less binge drinking sessions per month than the national average. 

Now, there are a couple of reasons for this phenomenon. One is that people only have a set amount of money to use on recreational activities, so in states with legalized marijuana, people who buy cannabis are simply going to have less money to spend on alcohol. But there's also a health argument that people are more willing to use marijuana to unwind because it has less damaging effects on a person's health than alcohol.

This is probably bad news for any bars in the Boston area, considering Massachusetts is going to legalize cannabis in only a few short months.

(h/t Forbes)

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Most people know that to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car is very dangerous — not just for the driver and passengers, but for anyone else sharing the road. For cannabis consumers, however, understanding levels of impairment is not so straightforward. To date, there is not yet a technology used by law enforcement that can accurately detect cannabis impairment similar to alcohol breathalyzers.

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