The Shift from Alcohol to Cannabis in Canada: A Data Analysis

The Shift from Alcohol to Cannabis in Canada: A Data Analysis

The Shift from Alcohol to Cannabis in Canada: A Data Analysis

Canada has been at the forefront of cannabis legalization, with the country fully legalizing the recreational use of the substance in 2018. This move has led to a significant shift in consumer behavior, with many Canadians opting for cannabis over alcohol. This article delves into the data behind this trend, exploring the reasons behind the shift and its potential implications.

Understanding the Shift: A Look at the Numbers

According to Statistics Canada, the country’s national statistical agency, the total sales of cannabis in Canada surpassed $2.6 billion in 2020, a significant increase from the $1.2 billion recorded in 2019. On the other hand, alcohol sales have been on a steady decline, with a 3% drop recorded in 2020.

Furthermore, a survey conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) found that 25% of Canadians aged 16 to 25 reported using cannabis in the past year, compared to 22% who reported consuming alcohol. This indicates a clear shift in preference among the younger demographic.

Reasons Behind the Shift

Several factors have contributed to this shift from alcohol to cannabis. These include:

  • Health Consciousness: Many Canadians perceive cannabis as a healthier alternative to alcohol. This is largely due to the growing awareness of the negative health effects of excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Legalization: The legalization of cannabis has made it more accessible and socially acceptable, leading to an increase in its use.
  • Product Innovation: The cannabis industry has seen a surge in product innovation, with a wide range of cannabis-infused products, including edibles and beverages, now available in the market.

Implications of the Shift

The shift from alcohol to cannabis has several implications. For one, it has led to a significant growth in the cannabis industry, with new businesses emerging and existing ones expanding. This has resulted in increased job creation and tax revenue for the government.

On the downside, there are concerns about the potential public health risks associated with increased cannabis use. These include the risk of addiction and mental health issues, particularly among young people.

Case Study: The Impact on the Beverage Industry

The shift from alcohol to cannabis has had a significant impact on the beverage industry. Many alcohol companies have reported a decline in sales, forcing them to rethink their strategies. Some have even ventured into the cannabis market, producing cannabis-infused beverages in a bid to tap into the growing market.

For instance, Molson Coors, one of Canada’s largest breweries, has launched a line of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages in partnership with Hexo Corp, a Canadian cannabis producer. This move is a clear indication of the changing consumer preferences and the potential of the cannabis market.


The shift from alcohol to cannabis in Canada is a trend that is likely to continue in the coming years, driven by factors such as health consciousness, legalization, and product innovation. While this shift presents opportunities for growth in the cannabis industry, it also poses potential public health risks that need to be addressed. As such, it is crucial for policymakers, industry players, and health professionals to work together to ensure that this shift is managed in a way that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the risks.

By C.N.W

Keywords: Canada, Cannabis, Alcohol, Shift, Data Analysis, Legalization, Health Consciousness, Product Innovation, Beverage Industry, Public Health Risks


  • Statistics Canada. (2021). The Daily — Legal and illegal cannabis, fourth quarter 2020. Retrieved from
  • Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. (2020). Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms (2015–2017). Retrieved from
  • Molson Coors. (2020). Molson Coors and HEXO Launch Truss CBD USA. Retrieved from
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