California, the first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis back in 1996 and famous for its rich growing history in the Emerald Triangle, has long been a mainstay and exporter of culture surrounding the cannabis plant.
This rich history has led to an incredibly large sector of their state’s economy. California’s cannabis market hit $6.7 billion in sales in 2016, more than every other adult use cannabis market in the United States combined.
According to New Frontier Data’s market projections released earlier this year, they expect California’s medical cannabis market to be worth $2.4 billion by 2021 and their adult use market to be worth $3.9 billion by the same year.
California has always been a powerhouse when it comes to consumption and cultivation of weed, but who exactly are the consumers powering the demand? What are their preferences, age, gender, annual income, interests? How do brands create and market products to their end users if they don’t really know anything about them? Can we extrapolate data about California cannabis consumers to consumers in other states?
When it comes to cannabis consumers, these questions have largely gone unanswered. For decades, the plant was bought and sold through black market channels, serving a demand but unable to create the infrastructure to understand it, thanks to state and federal law.
Who are California Pot consumers?
A survey conducted in California received 10,000 user responses, and their findings challenge stoner stereotypes of a previous time.
Some of the most significant findings to uncover the reality of who cannabis consumers are, versus stereotypes held about them, include:
- 32% of respondents were female, with 59% of females consuming cannabis every day.
- 51% of respondents hold a degree or postgraduate degree, made even more significant because only 39% of California residents hold the same level of education.
- 91% of respondents hold a full-time job, employed in a wide variety of industries, with technology leading all at 19%. Of the vast majority of respondents with full-time employment 58% consume cannabis everyday.
- 49% of respondents have an annual household income exceeding $75,000. The income bracket of $100,000-$149,000 was the most common annual household income of respondents.
- One in five respondents are parents, and 63% of parents surveyed consume cannabis daily.
- What aligns nearly all 10,000 respondents? Rallying around the idea of “reduc[ing] or replac[ing] alcohol and pharmaceutical consumption to find natural relief and enjoyment from marijuana.”
These findings show that the average daily cannabis consumer is concerned about their general wellness, gainfully employed, and making an annual household income above the national average, and many are parents.
We know these findings challenge the stoner stereotypes held by those who have a serious misunderstanding of cannabis consumers, but it also challenges marketing norms in the cannabis industry.