Are Canadians drinking less as weed gets easier to buy? It’s starting to look that way

Over time, Jonathan Habel’s drinking got heavier — along with his uneasiness about it.

“My dad, and my grandfather, always got home from work and as soon as they got inside would just grab a beer and another,” the 39-year-old Gatineau., Que. man remembers. “I kind of took the same habit that they had.”

“As time passed I drank a little more, a little more often. It became a habit, and it was just my way of winding down after work every night. I could feel that it wasn’t doing me any good, even though it kind of relaxed me. It never really was a healthy option.”

But at the same time, it made him uncomfortable.

He found a way out, though, after Canada legalized recreational cannabis. He started replacing much of his alcohol consumption with marijuana. He now describes himself as an “ex-low-level alcoholic.”

And it seems he’s not alone. National data on beer sales shows early signs of falling consumption in 2019, after cannabis was legalized, though experts caution a longer-term shift would take years, maybe a generation, to make itself felt.

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