The trend of choosing cannabis over alcohol in January is growing in the United States, especially among young people. This appears to be happening due to initiatives like Dry January, where people avoid alcoholic cocktails for the month. As a result, the cannabis market in the U.S. is getting stronger. Many young Americans now see marijuana as a healthier option than drinking.

With more states in the U.S. legalizing cannabis, companies that sell it are creating new products and advertisements aimed at people who don’t drink in January. Studies show that about one-third of Americans under 25 who join Dry January use cannabis. In states where cannabis is legal, its sales increase more in January compared to other months.

Data from Bloomberg Second Measure, which looks at credit and debit card transactions in the U.S., shows that alcohol sales dropped in January. In states where cannabis is legal, this drop is more noticeable. This suggests that when people have the option to buy legal marijuana they may choose it over alcohol.

Matt Darin, CEO of Curaleaf Holdings Inc., says that young Americans are becoming less interested in alcohol. A national survey supports this, showing a decrease in drinking among 18- to 25-year-olds compared to 2015.

The rise in cannabis edibles sales is significant. People who take breaks from drinking claim that it leads to better health, like improved sleep and skin. This could be a problem for the alcohol industry, especially as more U.S. states consider making recreational cannabis legal. Currently, 24 states and Washington D.C. have legalized cannabis, and Florida and Hawaii may vote on it in 2024.

Money is also a notable aspect of this trend. Big cannabis companies like Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries Inc., Verano Holdings Corp., Tilray, and Canopy Growth Corp. expect their revenues to grow by about 6% in the first quarter of this year. In Oregon, cannabis sales have increased by 19% on average in January since 2018. In Colorado, cannabis sales grew the fastest in January. Meanwhile, beer sales have been dropping annually since Canada made recreational cannabis legal in 2018.

However, the U.S. has not yet legalized cannabis at the federal level. Cannabis is still classified similarly to drugs like heroin. But there’s hope that this might change soon. As early as April we could see a federal change as Democrats might want to attract younger voters who support cannabis before the 2024 presidential election.

Young people’s view of cannabis as less harmful than alcohol is partly because it’s been used medically in the U.S. for over 30 years. It is used to treat conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, and anorexia. But there are still concerns about addiction and mental health, especially from using products with high potency.

The preference for cannabis over alcohol in January is changing consumer habits in the U.S. This is mainly among young people who believe cannabis is healthier than alcoholic cocktails. The growing cannabis industry presents challenges and opportunities for both the alcohol and cannabis sectors. This trend is reshaping the market, driven by health and wellness concerns and legal changes.