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Marijuana Use, Cannabis Delivery Has Skyrocketed in 2021

New study says Gen Z buys more, Gen X sees tax value, and more.

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Cannabis technology and software infrastructure provider WM Technology, Inc., owner of Weedmaps, released a report on Tuesday featuring data and insights on the marketplace, cannabis industry trends, cultural revelations and the persistent questions at the center of the cannabis conversation in America today.

Titled “Cannabis in America,” insights in the report validate what is witnessed daily: “The stigma around cannabis is fading as it becomes more embedded in our culture and daily lives,” says Chris Beals, CEO of WM Technology.

“This report highlights attitudes and trends within the industry by providing data and information directly from consumers — an important step as we work towards the goal of building a transparent and inclusive cannabis economy.”

RELATED: The 5 Best Weed Delivery Apps

Key takeaways

  • Cannabis delivery among Generation Z consumers increased by 125% year-over-year, with overall cannabis delivery increasing by 97%
  • The importance of social equity in the cannabis industry is growing, with 46% of cannabis consumers saying they want to patronize women-owned cannabis retailers and 44% saying they would like to give business to minority- or veteran-owned cannabis establishments
  • Cannabis use is being stigmatized with 72% of cannabis consumers saying that everyone or almost everyone knows they use cannabis
  • More than one-third, 36%, of Generation Xers believe cannabis is a good way to add tax revenue

Big business

As an increasing number of states back cannabis-friendly measures and federal legalization efforts multiply, the business of cannabis is entering a critical period where it needs to become more sophisticated and diverse. Guiding these insights are the following findings from the Weedmaps report:

  • Half (50%) of cannabis consumers said their consumption has increased since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. According to Weedmaps’ orders data, orders in H1 2021 increased by 55%, compared to H1 2020
  • While demand across categories remains consistent year-over-year, almost half (47%) of cannabis consumers believe edibles are becoming more popular. Millennials (ages 25-40) drove demand across categories for both H1 2020 and H1 2021, showing a slight preference for concentrates
  • The first half of 2021 saw a significant shift to cannabis delivery (60% vs. 40% in H1 2020)

More to do

While the tangible impact of cannabis legalization varies from state to state, many people who don’t consume cannabis are not certain they have seen nor understand how cannabis legalization impacts them and their communities, the report assures.

However, when asked about the general effect of cannabis legalization in the U.S., many non-consumers cited a positive impact:

  • More than a third (39%) say they are not sure how laws legalizing cannabis would   impact them personally
  • 61% say they are not sure what will happen once cannabis is legalized in their state
  • More than a third (36%) of Generation Xers (ages 41-56) believe legalizing cannabis would be a good way to add tax revenue

Social equity & diversity

American consumers continue to bring heightened awareness to socioeconomic disparities, driving business and community leaders to try to find more effective solutions.

And the cannabis industry is no exception to this trend. It's pretty much the opposite, according to Weedmaps' report on cannabis consumers:

  • More than half (57%) believe that everyone should have access to opportunities in the cannabis industry
  • Just as many (57%) also believe that everyone benefits from a more inclusive cannabis marketplace
  • Almost half (46%) say they want to support women-owned cannabis businesses
  • Nearly as many (44%) say they want to give their business to minority-owned cannabis businesses
  • More than a third (37%) say they want to shop with LGBTQ+-owned businesses

The rise of band affinity

As the industry grows, so does the range of product availability and the power of branding.

The rise of established brands and consumers’ connection to them is ultimately creating traction in the marketplace. Data suggests that personal experiences with cannabis products and brands build affinity and loyalty among consumers.

  • More than half (54%) of cannabis consumers have a favorite brand
  • Half (50%) of cannabis consumers believe branded products offer the best results
  • Nearly half (48%) of cannabis consumers always buy branded products

RELATED: How Do We Minimize the Stigma Around Cannabis? Start with These Three Lessons

The end of stigma?

Social taboos and shaming tactics are being challenged as cannabis consumption becomes more widespread and acceptable.

  • Nearly three out of every four (72%) cannabis consumers say that everyone or almost everyone knows they use cannabis
  • More than half (58%) of cannabis non-consumers say they don’t mind members of their social circle (family, loved one, significant other, close friend, acquaintance) using cannabis, but they do not encourage them
  • More than a quarter (27%) would use cannabis in a workplace social setting (e.g., company happy hour or holiday party)
  • Even more (31%) would use cannabis with multigenerational family members in a social setting

Education is key

As cannabis consumers continue to expand and experiment, it is becoming

essential that credible, consistent and reliable information be made available to help create confidence and enhance the cannabis experience for experts and novices alike.

  • Fewer than half (49%) of cannabis consumers say they are experts or proficient when it comes to cannabis knowledge
  • More than half (56%) get cannabis information from friends and family
  • More than a third (38%) get cannabis information from cannabis-related websites or apps
  • 17% get their cannabis information from celebrities who use and/or have cannabis businesses

The report’s methodology

“Cannabis in America” features insights derived from Weedmaps’ orders data as well as bespoke research from four separate online surveys:

  • Anonymized cannabis orders of any size placed on Weedmaps.com across categories (flowers, edibles, vape pens, concentrates, topicals) during the following time periods: H1 2020 (January 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020); H1 2021 (January 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021)
  • Weedmaps Custom Cannabis Consumer Survey fielded July 25 – August 20, 2021, among self-identified cannabis consumers (marijuana or CBD) ages 21+ in states where medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal as of June 1, 2021
  • Weedmaps Custom Cannabis Non-User Survey fielded July 25 – August 20, 2021, among people who self-identified as aged 21+ in all U.S. states and the District of Columbia who do not use cannabis (marijuana or CBD)
  • Weedmaps Custom Dispensary Survey I fielded July 27, 2021 – August 24, 2021, among people who self-identified as working in a legal cannabis business (dispensary/retailer, cannabis delivery service cannabis dispensary/delivery hybrid, or vertically integrated cannabis company)
  • Weedmaps Custom Dispensary Survey II fielded July 28, 2021 – August 16, 2021, among people who self-identified as working in a legal cannabis business (dispensary/retailer, cannabis delivery service cannabis dispensary/delivery hybrid, or vertically integrated cannabis company).

To see additional results from Weedmaps’ "Cannabis in America" report you can access the full report here.