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Major alcohol companies will likely see sales squeezed by legal cannabis in the coming years, according to Wall Street research firm CFRA Research. “Due to shared usage occasions, we view the legalization of cannabis as a threat to alcohol industry consumption growth,” CFRA analyst Joe Agnese, who covers the food and beverage and tobacco industries, wrote in a note published Monday.  Agnese cites Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, The Boston Beer Company and Brown-Forman Corp., best known for Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, as companies that could see a decline in product consumption. “When I consider the use indications of the alcohol industry — when it’s consumed, who consumes it, that type of environment — alcohol overlaps significantly with cannabis, whereas something like tobacco doesn’t,” Agnese said in an interview. “While you are going to see a big shift from the illegal (cannabis) market to the legal market, you’re also going to have a lot of alcohol consumers who don’t consider cannabis, because it’s illegal, moving over to consuming cannabis, especially with the development of closer alternatives such as infused beverages.” The question of whether or not legal marijuana takes of a bite out of alcohol sales has been hotly debated in recent years, with some research suggesting the two products are substitutes and other research suggesting cannabis and alcohol sales are complementary. Agnese, for his part, points towards 2017 research from the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University that found, based on the analysis of sales data collected by Nielsen retail scanners between 2006 and 2015, that monthly alcohol sales fell an average of 13 per cent in states that had legalized medical marijuana. “Canada’s going to be just a wonderful test market for the U.S. to see how it all plays out,” said Agnese, referring to the upcoming federal legalization of recreational marijuana use in Canada. Legal cannabis could crash the alcohol giants’ party, analyst says

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