More Reasons to Think Cannabis Will Hurt Wine Sales

It’s going to be fascinating down the road to try to track the correlation between California retail cannabis sales and California retail wine sales. While it’s being reported that retail sales of cannabis have not met expectations for the first two months of legalized recreational cannabis sales in California, we don’t yet have enough data to determine the extent to which legal cannabis will impact wine sales.

But they will.

RaboBank’s Boucard Nesin has penned a very interesting post that offers three reasons why wine sales could be impacted by legal cannabis. I highly recommend reading this article because it offers a logical and well-sourced argument why the wine industry ought to be worried.

The three reasons are:

Women and Older, Wealthier Individuals Say They Will Use More Marijuana After Legalization

Wine and Marijuana Compete for the Health-Conscious Consumer

Marijuana Legalization is Coming to States with High Wine Consumption 

The second reason to worry about how cannabis sales will impact wine sales is the most interesting. Wine has deservedly developed a reputation for being the “healthy” sin. However, the wine industry itself is banned by law from discussing this. Cannabis is not banned from talking about this, which is how you can read cannabis producers and others in the industry telling us just how good for your health the weed is and why alcohol is terrible for you.

All that aside, I’d pose this question: How often do you see wine producers or wine promotional groups actively working to help promote the sales of beer and spirits?


6 Responses

  1. Larry Schaffer - April 13, 2018


    Your last sentence is one that I have pondered as well – and one that is pretty easy to answer. Never as far as I’ve seen – yet the wine world seems to want to embrace and co-market the two. I don’t really understand that myself . . .


  2. Jeremy Parzen - April 13, 2018

    Tom, it’s always interesting to read your insights regarding the new cannabis wave. A propos your closing question (“How often do you see wine producers or wine promotional groups actively working to help promote the sales of beer and spirits?”), I would ask how often do you see wine professionals actively promoting food to go with wine? Oysters and Muscadet, truffles and Nebbiolo… etc. I believe that there will be a time when cannabis is considered a complement to wine and not a competitor (as you put it). Spirits vs. wine or beer vs. wine might be a zero-sum game for some. But I believe that doesn’t need to be the case for cannabis and wine (as opposed to cannabis vs. wine).

  3. el jefe - April 15, 2018

    So if a survey asked me “are you more likely to buy weed now that it’s legal” or even “will you buy”, I’d certainly say yes. But have I actually purchased, or even used since legalization? No. And I suspect there are a lot of us.

    Also, quite a bit of the interest I hear from the older crowd is not in mood-altering, but rather the anti-inflammatory CBD products. That’s the health aspect.

    Further complicating is all the ways you can consume it without smoking (smoking still not healthy). Until they somehow come up with a “standard gummi” I can’t even imagine using an edible outside of my home. I know what a glass of wine will do to me and I can manage that. But marijuana still seems too variable.

  4. Tone Kelly - April 15, 2018

    Of course let us not forget. There is no 3-tier distribution system for weed.

  5. Amber - April 16, 2018

    I really hadn’t thought about this, but you are totally right to consider it. Not only will people turn to weed more in their every day life, but it’s possible that cannabis tourism can replace wine tourism in certain states. Something to watch.

  6. Drew - April 17, 2018

    I understand your point but even with beer versus wine, you will see craft brewers and wineries team up on wine versus beer dinners.

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