How do you deal with weed stigma? A new study of cannabis users in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon found that 79 percent agree that marijuana is still viewed in a negative light. That perception may be preventing people from being open about their usage of the drug with loved ones — less than half of those who responded to survey questions from Seattle-Portland marketing communications firm Quinn Thomas said they were completely transparent with family and friends about their cannabis use.
Another surprising finding? Employers will be keen to note that one in four respondents said that they've gotten high at work, and that an equal percentage copped to using marijuana while on the job.
In January, the study conducted focus groups and tapped 900 online respondents evenly distributed across three states where recreational cannabis is legal — Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. Its stated margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percent.
Key data was turned that could be employed by cannabis brands in marketing, pricing, and positioning their products. The study suggested that marijuana use across the population is evenly distributed in terms of age, marriage status, income, political orientation, race, and ethnicity. One area in which cannabis use skewed high was among men — the study found that cannabis users were about 60 percent male.
But let's get back to that stigma — could it be due to a lack of information about cannabis? Many of those surveyed said that they were interested in receiving more knowledge about marijuana health and safety. When asked where they currently went for knowledge, many pointed to their friendly local budtenders — half of the survey's respondents picked local retailers as their best source of cannabis info. The next best sources were health care providers (38 percent said their doctor was their weed info go-to), cannabis growers (26 percent), and state cannabis regulators (20 percent).
The fact that political orientation did not seem to play a large role in cannabis consumption may come as a surprise to those who associate marijuana usage with a liberal worldview. Of the respondents to the survey, 35 percent identified themselves as Democrat, compared with 32 percent independent voters and 26 percent Republican.
In consumer news, it was found that by far, respondents preferred to smoke their cannabis — 64 percent reported using weed via smoking over the last year, as compared to 47 percent who had eaten an edible, 32 percent who had vaped, and 23 percent who had used topical products. When it comes to purchasing rationale, 62 percent of respondents said that price determined their cannabis buys, versus 45 percent who cited THC potency and 35 percent who went for product type.
The men and women surveyed (the study apparently did not allow for genderqueer or non-binary individuals) displayed some interesting differences in shopping behavior. Men were far more likely to prefer shopping for cannabis solo, and said they felt more confident and certain about their purchasing decisions than the women who were surveyed.
This article first appeared on High Times.