From Niche To Normal – Cannabis Use Becoming More Accepted In The United States
Growing numbers of consumers support the legalization of cannabis in some form and a majority believes it has a positive impact on the economy, according to the newly released 2018 Fall Cannabis Culture Poll, developed jointly by leading global communications agency BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), PSB Research and Civilized, a premium media and lifestyle brand that embraces and highlights modern cannabis culture. A full 83 percent of the poll’s respondents (U.S. adults, cannabis consumers and non-consumers) say they support some form of legalization of cannabis. Sixty-three percent of non-consumers, and 95 percent of cannabis consumers, say legalization has had a positive economic effect on the states where use has been made legal.
PSB Research, in partnership with BCW and Civilized, conducted online interviews between September 26 and October 4, 2018 with 1,200 U.S. adults aged 21 and older to explore views on cannabis and its usage and to determine general habits and behaviors of those who use and those who do not use cannabis. Respondents are defined here as consumers and non-consumers.
While consumers and non-consumers say legalization has benefitted local economies, cannabis purchases continue to be interpersonal transactions. Currently, 46 percent of consumers say they buy cannabis from friends or family, while just 30 percent patronize dispensaries. However, 84 percent of consumers who do not purchase cannabis at a dispensary say they would be willing to consider doing so. Thirty-eight percent of non-consumers say they would consider spending money with a cannabis-related business if it were legal where they live.
Use of cannabis in the U.S. is primarily recreational, but medical use is also popular. One in five (19 percent) of Americans currently consume cannabis, and more than half of those consumers say they use it at least a few times a week. More than four in five self-reported cannabis consumers use it for recreation, while about half of consumers report using cannabis for medical purposes. Cannabidiol (CBD) use among self-reporting consumers is also fairly common -- about one in three cannabis consumers also report using CBD for medical or other purposes.
The amount of dried and cured cannabis that consumers buy varies; while about one in 10 consumers buy one gram or less per month, about one third of consumers buy at least a quarter of an ounce every month. Thirty-five percent of cannabis consumers say they spend at least $100 per month cannabis or cannabis-related products.
“The 2018 midterm elections just confirmed the data from The Cannabis Culture Poll – cannabis is moving from niche to normal across the U.S.,” said Chris Foster, President, North America, BCW. “Michigan voters just made their state the tenth in the U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis, and Missouri and Utah passed initiatives to legalize medical marijuana, making medical use legal in 33 states.
“However, as legalization continues to spread across the U.S. and create new market opportunities, it won’t be long before the government begins to establish standards for production, distribution and consumption,” Foster continued. “Entrepreneurs and business owners will need to be prepared to navigate what is sure to become a complex regulatory environment.”
Consumers and non-consumers already see the need for some level of regulation and oversight of the industry. About half of non-consumers and over two-thirds of consumers would view the industry more favorably if it partnered with organizations to develop medical standards and regulations, increased industry funding for research on cannabis’ effects from medical and recreational use, and/or developed public education campaigns to support responsible legal use of cannabis and its derivatives.
“We’re excited to see the strides business leaders and voters in the U.S. are making to normalize cannabis,” says Derek Riedle, Publisher of Civilized. “There is incredible potential for this industry as cannabis sheds its taboo, shadowed past. We’re proud to be part of the movement as the industry brings cannabis out of the dark and into more lives across North America.”