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Cannabis Chronicle: American perceptions of cannabis

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In the Cannabis Chronicle, Maru/Matchbox surveyed
nearly 1,100 adults from states with legalized recreational
cannabis, who are Springboard America community
members to understand key perceptions about cannabis,
how they compare with perceptions of other legal
substances, and what the opportunities and risks are as the
cannabis industry works towards growth and normalization.

Veröffentlicht in: Lifestyle
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Cannabis Chronicle: American perceptions of cannabis

  2. 2. CANNABIS CHRONICLE // AMERICA - FEBRUARY 2019 2 BACKGROUND Beginning with Colorado and Washington in 2012, the legality of medicinal and recreational cannabis is evolving quickly across the United States. Currently, cannabis is legal for recreational use in 10 states and the District of Columbia, is legal for medicinal purposes in an additional 22, and CBD is legal for medicinal purposes in another 14. This leaves just four states – Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota – where cannabis is entirely illegal. With the legality of cannabis changing so quickly across the United States, the decisions and direction taken by the cannabis industry will be hugely influential in how the industry evolves over the next several years. The ability to understand consumer perceptions, and quickly evaluate how those perceptions evolve will determine who leads and who falls behind. In our first Cannabis Chronicle, Maru/Matchbox surveyed nearly 1,100 adults from states with legalized recreational cannabis, who are Springboard America community members to understand key perceptions about cannabis, how they compare with perceptions of other legal substances, and what the opportunities and risks are as the cannabis industry works towards growth and normalization. Some key learnings from legal-state Americans: • Though legal in some states for a relatively short time, residents have strong feelings – some positive, some negative – about cannabis; • Cannabis holds strong perceived advantages over other substances in the areas of wellness, natural, creativity, and relief; • However, cannabis will struggle for normalization unless the industry tackles image perceptions such as lack of sophistication, lazy, waste of time, and a strong discomfort consuming around kids.
  3. 3. CANNABIS CHRONICLE // AMERICA - FEBRUARY 2019 3 Despite its relatively short history as a legal substance for recreational use (7 years or less, depending on the state), the Maru/Matchbox Cannabis Chronicle shows that those in legal states already have very well-defined perceptions of cannabis. Many of these views are positive, likely contributing to the high degree of support for cannabis legality. However, there are some widely-held negative perceptions, which contribute to the ongoing challenge the cannabis industry faces in removing the ‘stoner stigma’, and further normalizing cannabis. SUPPORT FOR CANNABIS LEGALITY, BY STATE CALIFORNIA CALIFORNIA WASHINGTON COLORADO MASSACHUSETTS OREGON *NEVADA *MAINE Supports Legality Positive No Impact Negative WASHINGTON COLORADO MASSACHUSETTS OREGON NEVADA* MAINE* * caution, base size lower than n=50 Alaska and Vermont base too small to report * caution, base size lower than n=50 Alaska and Vermont base too small to report PERCEIVED IMPACT OF LEGAL CANNABIS ON SOCIETY, BY STATE CANNABIS HAS A WELL-DEFINED IMAGE 78% 78% 77% 72% 60% 68% 73% 50% 25% 75% 100% 0%
  4. 4. CANNABIS CHRONICLE // AMERICA - FEBRUARY 2019 4 With the cannabis industry’s consumer education and messaging still in its infancy, results show that Americans in legal states struggle to reconcile their positive experiences and opinions with their negative perceptions and concerns about cannabis. But good news for the industry is that, while public opinion on cannabis is mixed and sometimes contradictory, the most prevalent feelings are overwhelmingly positive. Nearly 1,100 Americans in our survey were shown 24 attributes and asked which they associated with cannabis (as well as beer, wine, spirits, tobacco, and vaping, for comparison). Results paint a picture of a product and industry that has many strengths to leverage, however also several challenges that will be key to overcome, in order to remove a lingering stoner stigma. CANNABIS BRAND/PRODUCT IMAGE PERCEPTIONS I’d be comfortable consuming around the kids Relaxing Relief Socially acceptable in moderate amounts Partying EscapeNatural Happy Fun Wellness Creativity Doing dumb things Being myself Lazy Risky Confidence Feeling accepted Waste of time Predictable Unhealthy Dangerous Out of control Being nervous Sophisticated 100%
  5. 5. CANNABIS CHRONICLE // AMERICA - FEBRUARY 2019 5 Regardless of gender, age, income, or region, there are five positive characteristics that most legal-state Americans agree relate well to cannabis: relaxing, relief, socially acceptable in moderate amounts, natural, and happy. These positive characteristics are clear strengths for cannabis, as they are agreed-upon not only by cannabis consumers (generally at levels of 90% or more), but also by non- consumers (generally at rates of 50% or more). Further, nearly two-thirds of legal-state Americans feel the terms wellness (64%) and creativity (63%) are associated with cannabis. Meaningful proportions of legal-state Americans also associate cannabis with overtly negative characteristics and qualities. Each of the following is associated with cannabis by roughly half of the population in these states: • Doing dumb things (57%) • Lazy (53%) • Risky (53%) • Waste of time (48%) • Unhealthy (47%) • Dangerous (45%) In addition, one very clear barrier to increased acceptance and normalization is the fact that just three-in-ten legal-state Americans (29%) say they would be comfortable consuming cannabis around children. This is in comparison with much higher rates for alcohol (56% spirits, 59% beer, 70% wine). In the pursuit of normalization and growth, this may be one of the most important perceptions and attitudes that will need to change. If consumers and potential consumers cannot envision themselves consuming cannabis in any format at a backyard barbecue or a get-together with friends and children, it will be very hard to overcome the stigma of cannabis being consumed primarily in garages or darkened alleys. The research paints a picture of a populace that is still very much learning about cannabis, and will likely take some time before it might consider cannabis to be ‘normal’ in the same way it thinks about beer and wine. THE GOOD THE BAD THE COMPLEX • While 71% associate cannabis with natural, 45% associate it with dangerous, and 47% say it is unhealthy. • 74% say cannabis is socially acceptable in moderate amounts, however just 49% associate it with feeling accepted.
  6. 6. CANNABIS CHRONICLE // AMERICA - FEBRUARY 2019 6 As a recreational substance, cannabis competes, at least to some degree, with alcohol for share of disposable income. So, to put Americans’ perceptions of cannabis in context, we also wanted to see how people think about beer, wine, and spirits. What Americans told us was intriguing. Overall, wine has the strongest profile among Americans, with the most positive perceptions and the fewest negatives. Cannabis, just single-digit years into legality, has already developed a profile nearly as strong as beer, and significantly more positive than spirits. Vaping and tobacco are viewed as far worse than either cannabis or alcohol. In particular, cannabis is viewed as having several distinct characteristics that differentiate it from alcohol: • A significant advantage over other beer, wine, and spirits on wellness • Virtually tied with wine, leading beer, and spirits on natural • Cannabis leads on creativity • Cannabis is slightly ahead of beer, wine, and spirits on relief • Cannabis leads, slightly ahead of beer, wine, and spirits on relaxing However, of concern for cannabis, it is viewed as: • Tied with beer, more lazy than wine or spirits • Slightly less fun than alcohol • Much less socially acceptable in moderate amounts than wine or beer • Significantly less sophisticated than wine • Significantly less comfortable consuming around kids than any type of alcohol HOW DOES CANNABIS COMPARE TO OTHER SUBSTANCES?
  7. 7. CANNABIS CHRONICLE // AMERICA - FEBRUARY 2019 7 The cannabis industry has substantial work do to in its pursuit of seeing cannabis become a fully normalized product category, even in states where it has been legal for several years. Key perceived advantages around characteristics like wellness, natural, creativity, and relief are key advantages and opportunities for cannabis marketers. But in order to influence consumption – increasing usage among those who already consume, and trial among non-consumers – the industry will need to tackle some of the key negative perceptions. If people are uncomfortable consuming cannabis at a backyard barbecue with kids running around, the category will never be able to truly enjoy the normalization that categories like beer, wine, and spirits enjoy in America. Social acceptability of public consumption is key to market expansion. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
  8. 8. CANNABIS CHRONICLE // AMERICA - FEBRUARY 2019 8 MARU/MATCHBOX CANNABIS CHRONICLE Maru/Matchbox is committed to bringing consumer insights and the voice of the consumer to the cannabis industry. Cannabis Chronicle, launched January 2019, is a quarterly study measuring consumption patterns, changing cannabis perceptions and attitudes, brand awareness, consideration, and satisfaction, and a variety of other pertinent topics impacting the cannabis industry. Content is customizable to individual brands and informational needs. About the Maru/Blue Cannabis Community Our sister company, Maru/Blue, has built and developed a community of pre-identified cannabis consumers. Cannabis Community members from across the U.S. and Canada have been extensively profiled on their cannabis consumption and consumption intentions. Additionally, they are profiled on how they consume and wish to consume, including smoking, vaping, edibles and beverages. There is no need for guesswork or asking unnecessary screening and demographic questions. This creates a better respondent experience and more room for asking questions that really matter. If you would like to understand cannabis consumers, the Maru/Blue cannabis community is the best and most reliable source. How Can We Help? Maru/Matchbox has been pushing the boundaries of the customer market insights space for over a decade. We have access to extensively profiled cannabis community members from across the U.S. and Canada and we are committed to bringing insights to the cannabis industry. We combine deep sector expertise with cloud-based customer insights communities, and take a results- focused, consultative approach to helping clients better understand what motivates their customers and influences their markets, so they can act decisively and win. Let’s Chat For more information on the Maru/Matchbox Cannabis Chronicle, or how we can help, please contact Kyle Davies Senior Vice President E: kyle.davies@marumatchbox.com M: (647)-980-6538