MRI-Simmons Study Reveals Cannabis Consumption up 38% YoY in the U.S.

More than one in five Americans now consuming cannabis, according to MRI-Simmons’ National Cannabis Study

NEW YORK, April 20, 2020 -- MRI-Simmons, the essential consumer truth set, today announced findings from its National Cannabis Study, which captures the full spectrum of cannabis use across the US. Among its many findings, the study shows that 22% of all US adults – over 55 million people – now use cannabis, with 17% of the total US population consuming once a month or more, and 7% consuming on a daily basis. The study also revealed that one in five of these consumers is using only CBD products.

Consumption in Context

To understand cannabis in the context of other behaviors, respondents were asked how often they use caffeine, vitamins, herbal supplements and cannabis. Between 2018 and 2019, consumption of cannabis, herbal supplements and vitamins grew YoY, while consumption of caffeine and alcohol dropped slightly.

Products Consumed Last 12 Months
(Vertical %)
Source: 2018, 2019 MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study
2018 2019 % Change YoY
Cannabis 16% 22% +38%
Herbal Supplements 36% 43% +19%
Vitamins 74% 76% +3%
Alcohol 67% 65% -3%
Caffeine 90% 87% --3%

Attitudes on Legalization

Six in ten Americans believe cannabis should be legal, a slight uptick from the 56% reported in 2018. Supporters skew younger, with a median age of 44. Thirty-four percent fall into the 18-34 age group. Non-supporters are older, with a median age of 54, and over half (56%) fall into the 50+ age group.

Should cannabis / marijuana be legal or not?
(Vertical %)
Source: 2018, 2019 MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study
2018 2019 % Change YoY
Legal 56% 58% +4%
Not legal 25% 24% -4%
I don't know 19% 18% -5%

Reasons for Legalization

Attitudes towards cannabis are supportive across all age groups. Sixty-four percent of all adults 18+ expect marijuana will be legal in all states within 5 years, 66% agree that legalizing cannabis would cut down on illegal drug traffic, and 70% agree that legalization would be a good way to add tax revenue. Most of these measures have seen an uptick, ranging from 9% to 23% increase year over year among the total population.

Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with each of the following statements
(Net: Any Agree)
Source: 2019 MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study
Adults 18+ Cannabis Consumers Index
Legalizing cannabis is a good way to add to tax revenue 70% 91% 130
Legalizing cannabis cuts down on illegal drug traffic 66% 86% 130
I expect marijuana will be legal in all states in the next 5 years 64% 84% 132
I would try marijuana if it were legal where I live 40% 88% 217
Communities are less safe with legalized cannabis 37% 29% 78
I closely follow new developments regarding the legalization of cannabis 36% 73% 202

Consumer Product Interest

As legal status changes, there are clear opportunities for new cannabis products and businesses. When asked about cannabis-infused product interest, adults (18+) were most interested in teas, while cannabis consumers were equally interested in teas and coffees.

Which of the following cannabis-infused products would you be interested in trying?
(Vertical %)
Source: 2019 MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study
Adults 18+ Cannabis Consumers
Tea 29% 54%
Food 28% 41%
Skincare (CBD) 28% 47%
Coffee 27% 54%
Soft Drinks 25% 50%
Beauty Products (CBD) 23% 45%
Bedding (CBD) 23% 47%
Beer or Cocktails 21% 46%
Liquor 20% 45%
Dog Treats 16% 36%

Cannabis as a consumer product is growing in the US,” said Karen Ramspacher, MRI’s SVP of Innovation and Insights. “The segment to keep an eye on will be the CBD-only consumers, who skew young, female, and multicultural with a higher household income. As consumer attitudes and behaviors continue to shift, MRI-Simmons’ National Cannabis Study will continue to provide perspective on cannabis within the broad range of product consumption, attitudes and lifestyle insights that marketers have come to trust.”

About the National Cannabis Study

The MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study cuts through the hype to provide a clear, unbiased view of cannabis as a cultural force and marketplace juggernaut. It provides insights that can directly guide both marketing actions and public policy, capturing the full range of opinions and desires on this potentially polarizing topic. The 2019 study was conducted using a nationally representative online sample of over 5,000 respondents. The resulting dataset was fused to MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer for deep profiling purposes and nationwide universe estimates. To learn more visit:

About MRI-Simmons

MRI-Simmons is the leading provider of insights on the American consumer. With thousands of attitudinal and behavioral data points, gathered through ongoing surveys and passive measurement, MRI-Simmons empowers advertisers, agencies and media companies with deeper insights into the “why” behind consumer behavior.

MRI-Simmons combines best-practice survey methodologies with an innovative technology platform and advanced data visualizations. MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer® is the industry standard for magazine audience ratings. In parallel, the company has been at the forefront of innovation, significantly accelerating the time to insights for brand builders, strategists, planners and sales regardless of their data acumen.

Launched as a joint venture in 2019, MRI-Simmons is co-owned by GfK and SymphonyAI Group, with GfK as the majority partner. To learn more, visit, or follow @MRISimmons on Twitter.

Media Contact

Matt Cumello
Senior Director, Marketing

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