New Report on California Cannabis Consumers Highlights Robust Illicit Market, Regional Differences

New Report on California Cannabis Consumers Highlights Robust Illicit Market, Regional Differences

Eaze released a data report Aug. 8 that outlines barriers to the legal market, as well as regional differences in purchasing behavior.

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August 8, 2018
Melissa Schiller

New data released by Eaze shows that the majority of Californians want to buy cannabis from the legal market, but high taxes, expensive products and the lack of access in the state are major barriers.

Eaze, a cannabis technology platform and delivery service, gathered responses from nearly 1,500 general cannabis consumers and released a data report Aug. 8 that outlines consumer purchasing behaviors in California following the state’s legalization of adult-use cannabis.

“Simply stated, California has done a great job of telling consumers that cannabis is legal but has a long way to go in making it easy to get safe, legal and affordable cannabis,” the report says.

Key findings of the report indicate that 84 percent of Californians are very satisfied with the legal cannabis market, but one in five have purchased cannabis from the illicit market in the past three months, and 84 percent of those are likely to repeat that behavior in the future due to the illicit market providing cheaper products and no tax. According to the report, a five-percent decrease in the overall tax rate in California could drive 23 percent of illicit market supporters into the legal market.

From the pool of consumers purchasing most often from the state’s licensed businesses, 85 percent reported that they are highly satisfied with labeling, while 75 percent are highly satisfied with testing. On the flip side, 57 percent of responders said they are satisfied with the illicit market’s labeling, and 45 percent reported satisfaction with illicit market testing.

In addition, 90 percent of California consumers say that have “some medical use for cannabis,” the report shows.

And as more consumers embrace the benefits of cannabis, regional differences emerge, even between Northern and Southern California, the report says.

Northern California consumers are likely to consume more frequently than Southern California consumers, the data shows, and Northern Californians are more likely to purchase from a licensed business. Those in Northern California also use delivery more frequently than pick-up, and 65 percent of them have tried edibles, compared to 59 percent of Southern Californians. Consumers in Northern California also enjoy edibles more frequently, the report says.

Southern Californians purchase cannabis more frequently, reporting 4.7 average transactions per month, while Northern Californians reported 3.5 transactions per month. Consumers in Southern California enjoy pre-rolls more frequently, and say they know more about the plant and its uses.

Overall, Eaze reported that although unlicensed retailers offer a large pricing benefit to consumers, Californians are increasingly focused on the wellness benefits of cannabis, indicating a preference for high-quality products with reliable results, which may be a long-term benefit of the legal market.

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