Wall Street Analyst on 420: People Are Picking Marijuana Over Alcohol

Apr 21, 2017

Instead of mixing the two, consumers appear to be choosing marijuana over alcohol.

That's according to a Thursday note from a team of Cowen analysts led by Vivien Azer, which downgraded Molson Coors (tap.a) stock to Wall Street's equivalent of "hold" from "buy."

"We believe alcohol could be under pressure for the next decade, based on our data analysis covering 80 years of alcohol and 35 years of cannabis incidence in the U.S.," the team noted. "Consumer survey work suggests [about] 80% of consumers reduce their alcohol consumption with cannabis in the mix."

Historically, cannabis and alcohol consumption has had an inverse relationship in the U.S.—at least according to the numbers analyzed by Azer. When cannabis trials rose 18% in the 80s and 90s, alcohol consumption fell 22%.

Over the past seven years, while cannabis usage among those between 18-25 years old in the U.S rose 4.6%, alcohol use has fallen 2.5%.

So how can investors capitalize on that? Azer though points to a marijuana packaging company Kush Bottles; Tobacco company Turning Point Brands; and Canadian-traded medical marijuana company Canopy Growth Corporation.

But Azer also cautions that while marijuana stocks have the potential for high returns —Cannabics Pharma for example returned 4,260% in the past three years as of Thursday (Weed Day)—they are also risky. The industry is still young, while the marijuana itself is still illegal in much of the country.

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