One in three Americans want to purchase weed inside a grocery store

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Would you purchase your cannabis inside a grocery store? If you answered “yes” to this question, you share the same opinion as one in three Americans. This statistic was gleaned from a survey of 1,062 participants during April 2021. 

Carried out by Digital Third Coast (DTC), the recent study also showed that Americans want to see cannabis being sold in convenience stores, gas stations and at newsstands.

Some key takeaways from this study on cannabis consumer buying views were as follows:

  • 31 percent want to purchase cannabis in grocery store food aisles;
  • 26 percent of respondents think that cannabis dispensaries should be legally allowed to open in residential areas, close to religious facilities and near schools;
  • 81 percent of those surveyed support cannabis legalization.

“We think people want to see cannabis in grocery stores for the ease and convenience of it, and also likely for the de-stigmatizing effects it would have,” said Content Strategist at DTC, Odette Rivera Davis, during an interview with GreenState reporters.. “We’ve noticed an increase in interest around cannabis by the general public.”

Her opinion was shared by the Director of Patient-Focused Certification at Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Heather Despres. She told interviewers at GreenState that stakeholders should prepare for the prospect of retailers selling cannabis in grocery stores.

“Selling in grocery stores would have a direct impact on the dispensary model that is currently in place,” Despres told GreenState. “This potentially larger sales model would mean that there may be more generic producers, and craft producers would become a more niche market.”

Healthcare provider consultations would still be a necessity for grocery store-sold cannabis

In the event that lawmakers consider the benefits of selling cannabis in grocery stores, such as increasing consumer access and further boosting the economy, the plant should be sold in a pharmacy zone. Despres backs this idea, with the Director of Patient-Focused Certification at ASA telling reporters that his organization is “concerned with patient access as well as safety.”

“If a grocery store pharmacy was legally permitted to sell medical cannabis to patients, then we would support that,” he said, all the while warning medical cannabis patients that they should arrange a consultation with a healthcare provider prior to purchasing their prescribed dose.

How the idea of grocery store-sold cannabis could transpire into reality

Although the likelihood of cannabis being sold in grocery stores across the U.S. remains unlikely for the foreseeable future, growing support indicates evolution in public opinion. Nonetheless, the unfortunate fact remains that safe banking access acts as a major obstacle for grocery stores. This is true even in states where the plant has been legalized; in whatever form.

Pursuant to Section 812 of the Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is deemed to be a Schedule 1 narcotic. This means that it is illegal to use, consume, manufacture and distribute the plant; refer to Section 841 of Controlled Substances Act. 

For cannabis suppliers to distribute their products around grocery stores and supermarket retailers, the plant would need to either be banished completely from the Controlled Substance Act’s (​CSA) list of controlled drugs or, at the very least, reclassified as a different Schedule of narcotics.

On the plus side, many retail operators across the U.S. are members of lobbyist groups that seek to accomplish complete cannabis reform. 

“Overall, it looks like more and more Americans are getting used to the idea of cannabis being legal for use, whether it be medical or recreational,” Davis added. “The future of the industry looks brighter than ever.”