Majority of Americans in cannabis-friendly states hold “positive perceptions” of legal cannabis marketplace

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Freshly churned out research featured in the journal Addictive Behaviors lends some promising insights into the general public’s perception of legal cannabis markets across the U.S. Based on the data, adults who live in states with a legally-regulated marketplace maintain a fairly optimistic outlook on the nascent cannabis industry.

A total of 5,530 respondents were surveyed as part of the study on perceptions of the cannabis marketplace. Those respondents were residents of cannabis-friendly states like Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Their data was collected by a team of investigators with ties to the University of Waterloo, School of Public Health in Canada.

According to the authors, these findings indicate an overall positive perception of the legal cannabis industry in the U.S., where 33 states have legalized the plant for medical purposes and an additional 11 for recreational use.

Study on perceptions of the cannabis marketplace: Legal cannabis considered to be safer than illegally-sourced weed

The quality of cannabis appears to be an influential factor in consumer buying decisions, according to this study. Legal cannabis quality was perceived as being equal or better than illegal sources, based on the opinions of frequent cannabis consumers.

One third of the study’s respondents (37.6 percent) considered legal cannabis to be of higher quality than the illicit market, with an additional 40.3 percent believing that legal weed is also safer. In addition to this, 59.2 percent of study respondents thought legal weed was easier to purchase and 56.1 percent thought it was safer.

“This data once again affirms that most voters do not experience ‘buyer’s remorse’ following [cannabis] legalization,” said NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano, adding that, “in the minds of most Americans, these laws are operating as voters intended and in a manner that is consistent with their expectations.”

Study on perceptions of the cannabis marketplace: Legal cannabis states have not repealed any laws

Interestingly, despite cannabis’ formerly taboo reputation, no U.S. state has ever rescinded their laws for legal cannabis use. This tells us that acceptance of the green plant is blossoming; whether cannabis is legalized for medical or adult-use purposes. 

Comparing the legal market with the illicit “black market”, consumers favor regulated markets. However, the price of the legal market was generally less appealing than illegal avenues 30.6 percent of respondents perceived legal cannabis as being more expensive what with the black market generally undercutting the cost of the legal market. Nonetheless, many respondents recognized that the price of legal cannabis tends to sink with market maturance.

The findings of this study on perceptions of the cannabis marketplace indicate acceptance of the plant and are reflective of other investigations into Americans’ opinions on the enactment of cannabis policies. You can view an abstract of the study, titled, “Consumer perceptions of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ cannabis in US states with legal cannabis sales,” by clicking here.