As cannabis legalization continues to sweep the U.S, beliefs and behaviors surrounding 420, once considered a “stoner holiday,” are shifting to become much more mainstream and inclusive.
One in four Americans currently consume cannabis, reporting they’ve tried some form of cannabis within the past twelve months. That’s a significant increase since 2018* when just 16% of U.S. adults reported current consumption, representing a 56% increase in just two years. What’s more, 23% of current cannabis consumers say they tried cannabis for the first time over the past year, suggesting the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with expanded state legalization, has rapidly accelerated cannabis acceptance and adoption in America.
These findings are part of a national study conducted by global public opinion and data company YouGov in partnership with Sunnyside, the national retail dispensary brand of Cresco Labs. The study, conducted in March 2021, examined cannabis use, attitudes, and purchase behaviors of nearly 5,000 Americans representative of the U.S. population.
Key findings from the study indicate that cannabis is attracting new consumers from a variety of demographics:
44% of cannabis-using parents with children under 18 tried it for the first time in the past year.
43% of Seniors (65+) who use cannabis tried it for the first time in the past year.
Men and women are using cannabis equally as often during the year, month, week, or day.
62% of women believe that the 420 is no longer only for “stoners” / heavy cannabis consumers.
62% of parents who consume cannabis believe celebrating 420 has become more acceptable.
“We were curious to learn how current conditions have impacted consumer attitudes and cannabis consumption behaviors ahead of what we expect to be an unprecedented 420 celebration,” said Cris Rivera, SVP of Retail Marketing & Customer Experience at Cresco Labs. “Whether it’s the stressors of a global pandemic or increased accessibility due to expanded state decriminalization, cannabis has become the leading CPG category for exploration as people flock to dispensaries to discover the range of novel formats and modern products available to them.”
Earlier this month, New Mexico became the 17th state to enact legislation to regulate cannabis for adult use, on the heels of adult-use legalization announcements from New York, New Jersey and Virginia. A total of 37 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have approved comprehensive, publicly available medical cannabis programs.
As cannabis legalization continues to sweep the U.S, beliefs and behaviors surrounding 420, once considered a “stoner holiday,” are shifting to become much more mainstream and inclusive. In fact, according to the YouGov study, 44% of cannabis consumers believe 420 should be recognized as a national holiday.
How will America celebrate 420 this year?
57% of cannabis consumers view 420 as a national day of rest, relaxation, and wellness.
50% of people 21-54 will try or will consider trying a new product on 420 this year.
60% of young cannabis consumers (21-34) plan to try out a new form of cannabis on 420.
57% of cannabis consuming parents with children under 18 plan to try a new form of cannabis on 420.
46% of men plan to try a new product on 420, while 25% of men plan to shop deals.
20% of women are planning a day of wellness.
53% of cannabis consumers plan to celebrate 420 with others this year, either in person or virtually.
“As one of America’s leading retailers of medical and adult-use cannabis products, we are on a mission to normalize and professionalize the shopping experience so consumers feel comfortable and confident adding cannabis to their everyday wellness,” said Rivera. “We believe that 420 should be a mainstream and inclusive holiday, and this data set shows that people all over America are planning to embrace it in new ways this year.”
According to YouGov, people’s cannabis preferences vary by region:
The Northeast is the most likely (64%) to consume cannabis for anxiety/stress relief.
People in the South and West Coast consume cannabis for social occasions more than the rest of the country.
The South is more likely (32%) to consume cannabis for intimacy than the rest of the country.
The Midwest (61%) is consuming edibles and beverages more than the rest of America.
74% of Midwestern users, and 64% of all cannabis consumers, believe if more people embraced cannabis, the world would be a better place.