4/20 inevitably brings a rush of attention to cannabis each year. It’s so culturally ingrained at this point that we at MRI-Simmons have even tied the annual release of our National Cannabis Study to coincide with the date. After collecting nationally representative data on cannabis consumers since 2018, we find this to be the perfect time of year to share the latest findings.

But the 4/20 holiday might bring to mind some tired stereotypes about cannabis consumers that our data increasingly shows are no longer in play, and we don’t want to perpetuate those ideas. Much as coffee drinkers or alcohol consumers shouldn’t be treated as a demographic monolith, cannabis consumers shouldn’t be lumped together either.

With that in mind, let’s look at 4 key attributes of cannabis consumers that will help put some of the one-dimensional stereotypes in the rearview mirror:

1. Nearly all agree that cannabis is more healthy than alcohol

There is nearly unanimous consensus that cannabis products are a healthier option than alcohol, and many consumers report that cannabis products have replaced alcohol and OTC/prescription medications. Cannabis consumption falls into Americans’ health & wellness routines – not just their recreational habits. We outlined this and other findings from the study in a new complimentary report – click here to download it!

2. Americans are interested in cannabis-infused products

Consuming cannabis products doesn’t have to a be smoke-filled affair requiring elaborate paraphernalia. 6 in 10 American consumers are actively interested trying cannabis-infused products. Teas, skincare, and soft drinks have the highest interest, each with over 30%, while dog treats has the highest growth of any category, spiking +38% since 2019. We published a press release with consumer interest in 10 categories – click here to read it!

3. Legalization support is broad and not constrained by political party or ideology

Americans overwhelmingly support cannabis legalization – with 65% of adults agreeing that “cannabis should be legal.” This is a 10 percentage point increase since 2018. This sentiment doesn’t necessarily follow an expected partisan arc, since 57% of Americans who identify as “conservative” tell us that they support cannabis legalization. While “liberal” respondents still support in higher numbers, decriminalization appears to be one of the few areas of bipartisan agreement in America. This topic was discussed at length in a recent webinar we hosted with guests from Poseidon Asset Management and Fyllo – click here to watch the video, with this conversation starting at the 9:45 mark.

4. Cannabis ads in magazines are strong performers

Our Starch Magazine ad study measures both who takes note of a given ad, and how many of those people take an action based on it. The latest study reveals that compared to all types of ads, Cannabis/CBD ads had higher Actions Taken rates, with the most common actions after seeing an ad in a magazine being visiting a website and/or social media. The magazine genres with the highest uptick in Actions Taken were sports publications at 80%, men’s magazines at 78%, and general editorial pubs at 76%. Higher levels of Actions Taken were seen in all but one category. Stay tuned for a new report coming soon with further analysis of cannabis print ads.

Sooner or later, the novelty of legal cannabis will probably wear off, and April 20th will come and go without much fanfare. But for now, MRI-Simmons will continue tracking cannabis consumption and revealing, as we do for all consumer groups, the diverse attitudes, behaviors, and media consumption found among cannabis consumers.

MRI-Simmons’ National Cannabis Study paints a comprehensive picture of cannabis consumers in the US. Since 2018, we have profiled cannabis consumption, attitudes around legalization, and media & purchase behaviors to help marketers and brands understand who is consuming cannabis, how to reach them, and why they need to know. Click here to learn more about the study.

Matt Petterson
Matt Petterson
Matt is the Digital Marketing Manager at MRI-Simmons, whose 10+ year career spans both media production and consumer research. He brings data-driven insights to life in any digital medium and helps thought leaders share actionable expertise across multiple platforms.