Friday, December 2, 2022

Legal Or Illicit Market? Here’s What Determines Where Consumers Get Their Weed

“The most effective way to disrupt the unregulated marketplace is for lawmakers and regulators to swiftly provide cannabis consumers with an accessible and affordable legal marketplace.” — NORML

This study was originally published by NORML and appears here with permission.

Consumers’ decisions regarding whether to purchase cannabis products from the legal market or the unregulated market are influenced primarily by price and convenience, according to data published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Canadian researchers surveyed a cohort of more than 11,000 marijuana consumers in the United States and Canada. Respondents said that they were most likely to forgo accessing marijuana from the legal marketplace if they believed that they could obtain cheaper products more conveniently from unregulated sources.

marijuana saless
Photo by Ivan-balvan/Getty Images

“Higher prices and inconvenience of legal sources were common barriers to purchasing legal cannabis,” authors concluded. “Future research should examine how perceived barriers to legal purchasing change as legal markets mature.”

Data has previously shown that cannabis consumers are willing to pay higher prices for legal cannabis products because they believe that they are superior to those available from other sources. However, consumers acknowledge that they will not pay for products that they perceive are priced excessively high.

Separate data provided earlier this year by Leafly.com reported that jurisdictions with the most robust legal cannabis markets and the fewest local bans on retail outlets are most successful at disrupting unregulated cannabis supply chains.

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“The most effective way to disrupt the unregulated marketplace is for lawmakers and regulators to swiftly provide cannabis consumers with an accessible and affordable legal marketplace,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. NORML has consistently criticized the enactment of municipal bans on cannabis-related businesses, opining that they perpetuate the unregulated market by limiting consumers’ access to licensed products.

Full text of the study, “Reasons for purchasing cannabis from illegal sources in legal markets: Findings among cannabis consumers in Canada and U.S. States, 2019-2020,” appears in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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