Cannabis' Impact on Social Occasions

Andy Seeger

With the first sanctioned cannabis café opening in Los Angeles, a seismic shift in go-to-market possibilities and consumer consideration is underway. The industry is coming out of the house to meet consumers in new locations for new occasions.

With few exceptions, state regulations across the country still restrict cannabis consumption in public. Accordingly, cannabis use has been almost exclusively at-home or in small groups due to its illicit past, risk of penalty, and perceived social stigma. However, as the industry matures and innovation advances, we are beginning to see companies respond with products that no longer hide behind closed doors.

 

“Relaxing at Home” rates as the highest use occasion, with nearly three in four consumers using cannabis for this purpose. Another 50% mention the occasion “With friends at home.” Household chores comes in a close second; 55% of users report consuming products during their domestic duties.

 

Consumers in these need-states spend more on products, spend more per month, and are more likely to desire "Relaxation" and "Chill" as Product Effects. Boomerangs (older, returning cannabis consumers) are more likely to use cannabis for relaxing in the home while college-aged consumers under-index in home use.

 

Use at a “Concert or Music” rates as the highest social use case; 40% of consumers report consumption during these events with many users reporting the ‘high’ as a top desired attribute of their purchases. Use in a “Bar or Nightclub” is reported by less than a fourth of consumers.

 

While this tendency for younger consumer to be more social holds constant, we expect that this behavior will only enhance the movement of cannabis out of the living room and into the social sphere. The biggest trends in the industry - discrete and accessible products, controllable dosage, high end branding -  all work to move cannabis off the couch and out the door.

 

As cannabis consumption expands and integrates into daily life, consumers will be looking for products that fit their newly realized needs or resemble current consumption patterns of complimentary or substitutive goods, like alcohol. An industry where consumers feel comfortable using outside of their living rooms presents a much larger opportunity for all involved.