Warning: Cannabis Statistics Smell Like Highfalutin' Propaganda
It's come to our attention that the NFL has a viewership problem.
The problem is, about 9% fewer Americans are watching professional football games on TV this year.
"There is no sugarcoating the news for the National Football League when it comes to viewership: The numbers are heading in the wrong direction—and quickly."
- Sports Illustrated, 01/03/2018
To most thoughtful people, the reason is clear: watching men give each other concussions is scary and disgusting. The existential threat to these magnificent athletes has never been more obvious (great idea to put microphones inside helmets, guys!) and after all, how many life-threatening injuries can a person see before turning away?
A simple alternative theory holds that ALL TV viewership is down 9% (also mentioned in the Sports Illustrated article shown above). Further down the evolutionary scale, folks are saying the cause is players kneeling in protest. Pure horsesh*t in our opinion, but there is a whole red, white and blue entertainment network that claims this cause-and-effect relationship.
Such is the nature of statistics, which our readers know "can be used to prove anything."
So when the storied financial news organization Forbes publishes an article that states "Alcohol Sales Dropped 15% In States With Medical Marijuana Laws", the implied cause and effect relationship between the rise of cannabis and the fall of alcohol is difficult to unsee.
Or is it?
We don't pretend to know the real reason why alcohol sales are down. No one knows for sure. A few possibilities are:
People understand that alcohol can kill them, and so they are drinking less
People understand drinking alcohol might make them gain weight
Alcohol prices go up sometimes, presumably causing sales to go down
People understand that drinking and consuming cannabis in the same session will make them barf, so they choose to consume one or the other. In this one scenario, the increased sales of one would cause lower sales of the other.
What can be safely assumed is there is no single reason, and certainly cannabis ain't it.
The Forbes article was written by a fellow who has "hundreds of articles about wine (and food) published in trade magazines, two ongoing upstate NY newspaper columns, and authored five books with wine and/or food history as their subject." Though he's clearly from the alcohol camp (as we're in the cannabis camp), we're certain he's a fine guy and the statistics he chooses to use here were provided by a reputable study.
But read closely and you'll find EVEN THE WRITER IS NOT CONVINCED:
"...this study may be an indicator..."
"... to determine whether legalized marijuana promises to replace alcohol consumption altogether. The jury is still out on that question..."
"... stated flatly they see no evidence and do not believe legalized marijuana will be a major substitute for wine consumption."
Dear Readers, warning labels are put in place for a reason - to protect us from harm. Perhaps Forbes.com needs a warning label: SOME BULLSHIT MAY OCCUR.
image source: Mother Jones