Organic and Premium Cannabis: Consumers Want It and Are Willing to Pay for It

Departments - Upfront | Sales Trends

June 7, 2016

A number of marijuana consumers identify themselves as vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, according to data collected on California medical marijuana users by cannabis market research firm Brightfield Group. Eight percent of frequent users (who consume at least five times/week) and 11 percent of infrequent users are vegetarians, versus 5 percent of adults nationwide.

Two percent of Americans identify themselves as vegans, according to a Gallup poll, while the vegan population among marijuana users ranges from 3 to 6 percent. This indicates that a healthy number of cannabis consumers are indeed paying attention to their diets and the health effects of what they are consuming.

Premium and Organic

More than a third of U.S. recreational and medical marijuana users indicated they would pay more for “organic products,” second only to “premium strains of flower,” which topped 40 percent.

This data has important implications. Marijuana users appear to be more demanding, seeking out quality and safety, than typical consumers. Companies that grow organically, seek certification (industry-based, since the USDA’s organic certification is not available for cannabis) and/or safety testing, or generate gluten-free-edible options will serve a wider market.

Not only is there demand and a willingness to pay more, but also a willingness to pay a high premium. Nearly half of marijuana consumers indicated they would pay 50- to 100-percent more for organic products. Organic-product consumers likely already expect to pay premiums; organic foods are approximately 47 percent more expensive than non-organic foods, per Consumer Reports. Those who target these consumers will have an early-mover’s advantage in tapping an already substantial, but potentially enormous market.

About the Author: Jamie Schau is a market analyst with Brightfield Group, where she performs quantitative and qualitative analyses of various aspects of the U.S. marijuana market.