The stigma around cannabis use is fading as regulated markets put weed in a new light, but the sector has to continue building confidence, according to a data insights report by WM Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: MAPS).
Weedmaps — an online cannabis marketplace for consumers and businesses — released its Cannabis in America report Tuesday to show evolving consumer and cultural trends in the U.S. as the market develops.
The report comes as efforts toward federal legalization continue across party lines, and as the Covid-19 pandemic and social justice movements play a role in driving consumer demands.
Consumers want to support diversity, equity and inclusion in the cannabis industry. More than half (57 per cent) say that everyone should have access to opportunities in the sector. Just as many believe everyone benefits from a more inclusive marketplace.
At the start of the pandemic, half of cannabis consumers say they upped their intake. Then in the first half of 2021, Weedmaps found that orders increased by 55 per cent compared to the year before.
Stigma challenged as weed goes mainstream
With consuming weed is on the rise and more states reforming their marijuana laws, the plant is moving into the mainstream and shaking off decades-old stigma.
Findings show 72 per cent of cannabis users say that everyone, or almost everyone, they know uses cannabis. And more than half (58 per cent) of non-consumers say they don’t mind if people in their social circles consume weed.
“Social taboos and shaming tactics are also being challenged as cannabis consumers seamlessly integrate their cannabis product of choice into their lives,” the report adds.
Twenty-seven per cent say they’d consume weed in a social work setting, like a happy hour or holiday party, and 31 per cent would at a multigenerational family function.
“The insights from Weedmaps’ Cannabis in America report validate what we see every day: The stigma around cannabis is fading as it becomes more embedded in our culture and daily lives,” CEO Chris Beals said in a statement.
The report notes athlete and celebrity endorsements have helped destigmatize cannabis consumption, but so has branding and product development.
“The cannabis business has become more sophisticated, appealing to new consumers with welcoming environments and packaging featuring distinctive branding elements often seen in more mature categories,” reads the report. “Now, cannabis means business.”
More than half (52 per cent) of cannabis consumers say they have a favourite brand, and 50 per cent say they think branded products offer the best results. According to the report, branded products often inspire loyalty, with 48 per cent saying they always buy branded products.
At the same time, the impact of legalization isn’t fully understood by those who don’t consume. Thirty-nine per cent aren’t sure how legalization would affect them personally, and 61 per cent don’t know what will happen if their state legalizes cannabis.
However, most of those who don’t consume cannabis mentioned positive impacts, such as 36 per cent of Generation Xers believing legalization would be a good way to help tax revenues.
The report suggests that legalization and mainstream acceptance may lead to non-consumers having a better understanding of the positive effects of cannabis, but it’s imperative to have credible, consistent and reliable information available to build confidence in the sector.
Significant shift to delivery
In the first half of 2021, the majority of orders (60 per cent) placed were for delivery, a 97-per-cent increase from the first half of 2020.
“As more cannabis consumers settled into routines that leveraged the increasing availability of delivery on demand through platforms like GrubHub, Drizly, and Shipt, cannabis delivery has also made its way into the lives of cannabis consumers,” reads the report.
Millennials are driving the demand for delivery, with a 57 per cent majority.
Generation Z is showing a growing interest in weed delivery, with a year-over-year increase of more than 125 per cent.
For the report, Weedmaps used its orders data and pulled from four separate online surveys.