Medical Marijuana in the Washington Post and Mother Jones

A recent working paper by co-authors Michele Baggio (UConn faculty, Department of Economics), Alberto Chong (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Department of Economics), and Sungoh Kwon (UConn graduate student, Department of Economics), has been featured in the Washington Post:


Medical marijuana took a bite out of alcohol sales …

Alcoholic beverage sales fell by 15 percent following the introduction of medical marijuana laws in a number of states, according to a new working paper by …

And in Mother Jones magazine:

Back in 2009 I wrote a piece for the magazine about marijuana legalization. One of the things I learned is that a key question about the effect of legalization is whether marijuana and alcohol are substitutes or complements. If alcohol and marijuana are substitutes, it means that higher sales of marijuana will likely produce lower […]


The working paper is online at: Helping Settle the Marijuana and Alcohol Debate: Evidence from Scanner Data


We use data on purchases of alcoholic beverages in grocery, convenience, drug, or mass distribution stores in US counties for 2006-2015 to study the link between medical marijuana laws and alcohol consumption and focus on settling the debate between the substitutability or complementarity between marijuana and alcohol. To do this we exploit the differences in the timing of the of marijuana laws among states and find that these two substances are substitutes. Counties located in MML states reduced monthly alcohol sales by 15 percent. Our findings are robust to border counties analysis, a placebo effective dates for MMLs in the treated states, and falsification tests using sales of pens and pencils.