A study conducted by the Brightfield Group, a Chicago-based CBD and cannabis-focused market researcher found some shocking data about cannabis use earlier this month. As it turns out, new cannabis users are diving into cannabis use harder than the average consumer. 50% of them are using cannabis five or more days every week and 22% are using cannabis more than once per day. Women are also using cannabis at a much higher rate than men. The trends also indicate that the majority of recreational cannabis users are Gen Z women.

New users did vary on a geographical basis, though. For example, while female cannabis users steadily rose in 2020, 59% were women in Michigan while only 43% were women in California. Jamie Schau, senior insights manager at Brightfield Group, said “This is an important departure from the classic cannabis consumer profile, and those participating in the space will benefit from adapting to the evolving marketplace.”

A breakdown of the study findings: 

  • 50% of new cannabis users use cannabis five or more days every week.
  • 22% of new cannabis users are using cannabis more than once per day.
  • Females tend to use cannabis more heavily than males
  • 59% of cannabis users in Michigan were women
  • Cannabis use among females rose steadily in 2020
  • 6% percent of recreational cannabis consumers in 2020 were new users while 22% were Gen Z’ers.

So what does that mean for the cannabis industry? 

Studies like these are conducted to get a better feel for consumer trends. Looking at data like this helps the government to examine federal legalization as well as help legal cannabis businesses market themselves more effectively to the correct types of people. Even though federal legalization is picking up speed and interest after the democrats took over the presidency and congress, progress is very slow when it comes to reevaluating the legal status of cannabis, which is a Schedule 1 illicit substance.

Right now, this specific study is helping the banks to take a closer look at the SAFE Banking Act, which is a measure that would allow banks to legally work with cannabis businesses without prosecution from the federal government. While decriminalization continues to drag its feet, this report predicts that if the SAFE Banking Act passes, decriminalization is on the horizon. Since it will provide more opportunities for large financial institutions to enter the industry, it may also encourage other states to legalize cannabis.

Back when the SAFE Banking Act was introduced in 2019, it passed in the House of Representatives, but didn’t make it through the republican-controlled Senate. It was reintroduced in the House in early March. Regardless, this study highlights just how ready Americans are for federal legalization as consumption trends continue to rise and expand.

As cannabis use becomes more normalized, many industry barriers are set to be overturned, including the banking ban— opening up more options for legalization and regulation. More and more states are set to get involved if these trends continue. The passage of the SAFE Banking Act will be step one.

“This will pave the way for immense growth,” explained Schau, “as these types of national-level barriers have kept many sizable players from investing in what – in their view – is a risky market, and have kept state legalization at bay as well.”


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