AFP

Smoke or swig?

It remains unclear whether both alcohol and cannabis can co-exist on the market

ANDREW J. LINN

If we ever assumed that the drinks industry's principal objective was to deliver undiluted pleasure to lovers of wine and other alcoholic – and non-alcoholic – drinks, recent developments in the States should make us think again.

With the legalisation of cannabis in some jurisdictions, it has been the drinks industry that has scrambled to obtain a secure foothold in this US$46 billion market. Nevertheless, it is not clear whether the two products can co-exist or are in fact competitors. Will cannabis replace alcohol? Asking the question of Europeans may raise nothing more than an eyebrow, but some US companies are investing billions in cannabis-infused drinks. Market research indicates that the consumption of cannabis is increasing, and it is predicted restaurants may in future offer cannabis in the same way as they now offer wine. Cannabis to accompany cocktails is becoming common: consumption has risen from 12% in 2018 to 22% this year. In states where cannabis use has been legalised, 50% of those have consumed it in the last six months. So where does this leave us? Are we soon to be seen going out for dinner and smoking a joint as we sip our sherry before our meal? Or ordering a cannabis cocktail? The same survey indicates that gym use may diminish as we become accustomed to replacing drinks like beer with cannabis, so we'll not need to lose weight.