BOOZE and drugs usually belong together like Fred and Ginger. But not, it seems, in California’s wine region. Wine-makers are fretting that recreational marijuana use, which became legal in the state in January, could challenge their dominance of what is delightfully known as people’s “intoxication budgets”. They also complain that they can no longer afford seasonal labour to harvest their grapes because workers have better-paid, year-round jobs on cannabis farms. Sonoma County, one of the state’s main wine-producing regions, recently imposed restrictions on who may grow weed, and where.
According to Rabobank, a Dutch firm that specialises in financing agriculture, marijuana and alcohol are to some extent substitutes. Legalisation, a recent report from the bank argues, will encourage more women, baby boomers and high earners—all stalwarts of the wine business—to smoke weed instead. In other states, the legalisation of medical marijuana has been associated with a roughly 15% fall in alcohol