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Some Canadians moving from alcohol to cannabis


Canadians are making fewer trips to the beer fridge these days. Numbers from Statistics Canada shows drinking habits are changing.

“Overall, it’s just across the board, people are just spending less essentially, or consuming less,” says Sylvain Charlebois, the head of Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Lab.

Alcohol sales are down 2.8 per cent from last year but have rebounded a bit from May to June of 2023 with only a 0.9 per cent decrease.

There are a few reasons why.

Charlebois cites awareness of health concerns associated with alcohol consumption, erratic weather that keeps people from attending parties and summer barbeques, successful dry campaigns, and the rising cost of living.

“Some of these products are quite expensive and people just can’t afford them, to buy some of these products,” Charlebois says.

In Nova Scotia, it's a slightly different story.

“Last year we saw a decline in beer, wine and spirits, and we saw a slight increase with our ready to drink categories such as coolers,” says Terah McKinnon with the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission.

Alcohol at an NSLC store is pictured. (Source: Jonathan MacInnis/CTV News Atlantic)Recent numbers show locally-produced alcohol is also going strong.

“We saw an increase in sales with all local products, including wine, beer and ready to drink products and coolers and spirits. That’s from April 1 to March 31, 2023,” McKinnon says.

One thing that is up across the board is the sale of cannabis. Nationally sales are up by 3.3 per cent. It's even higher in Nova Scotia.

“When it comes to cannabis we saw a 7.3 per cent increase in volume sold,” says McKinnon.

“For the younger generations, the people who are becoming adults, they’ve grown, and now cannabis has been legal for four years so that is likely making a difference,” says Charlebois.

Terah McKinnon says the reduction in sales is actually bringing NSLC's numbers back into the pre-pandemic range. Top Stories

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