The Boomer generation grew up with Santa pushing cigarettes for Christmas, smoking on planes and kids able to mix drinks cocktails. Marijuana was seen as evil and the (falsely) road to a “bad end”. There has been significant baggage about a good vice versus a bad vice.  Things started changing around the birth of Gen Z.  The three martini lunch declined as did afterwards afternoon boozy behavior in the office. Big Tobacco lost a landmark case costing them $206 billion. It is the largest settlement in U.S. history. And marijuana was grudgingly seen by “those in charge” as possibly having medical benefits.

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Gen Z grew up with changing attitudes including a focus on heath, cleaner air, bottled water and a balanced lifestyle.  They begin to see marijuana as a staple and not a sin.  Around 93% of Gen-Xers agree that cannabis use has many health benefits and can be good for the mind and body.

“Gen Z is the first generation to be of legal consumption age in an environment with widespread adult-use cannabis access,” Amanda Reiman, New Frontier Data’s vice president of public policy research, said in an email exchange. The firm’s study, which included 4,170 current cannabis consumers and 1,250 nonconsumers, found that the preference seems to fade with age, with just 44% of respondents aged 65 to 74 choosing weed over booze.

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Photo by CRYSTALWEED cannabis via Unsplash

In states where recreational cannabis products are legal, 65% of Gen Z survey respondents smoke marijuana and 51% consume cannabis-infused beverages, Technomic, the foodservice industry data company, reported in its Adult Beverage Planning Program.

Most of this consumption takes place at home, but 38% of Gen Zers would visit a marijuana lounge or club to partake of the products. Visiting a bar or restaurant for a drink and/or food edges out that number at 41%, but the margin is thin.

Gen Zers are drinking less than young people in past generations with about 20 percent less alcohol per capita than millennials did at their age, according to a report from Berenberg Research. And many are forgoing booze entirely.

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Contrary to in cannabis industry’s claim that marijuana is going to doom alcohol, rather it is going to be added to the mix and change patterns of behavior.  Some claimed bottled water would never work, then it said it would kill sodas, now it is just an separate revenue line for the big soda companies.

Nothing stays the same, but it is interesting to watch the change.

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