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5 Busted Myths of Today’s California Cannabis Consumer

NorCal Cannabis Company
Photo courtesy NorCal Cannabis Company


5 Busted Myths of Today’s California Cannabis Consumer

A first-of-its-kind survey carried out by NorCal Cannabis Company delved into the world’s largest cannabis market to discover who the real consumers are. The results may surprise you.

For decades, growers from Northern California’s Emerald Triangle — the area encompassing Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties — have been the epicenter of America’s cannabis scene.

The Golden State had the first legal medical marijuana market with the passing of Prop 215 in 1996. Proposition 64, the Adult Use Act, legalized growing, selling and using cannabis recreationally in November 2016.

Thousands of cannabis businesses have emerged since, all trying to establish themselves in an already saturated and highly regulated market. The industry has seen unparalleled innovation and investment across categories like product development and technology, causing a so-called “Green Rush.” It has been predicted that by 2024, the California cannabis market will comprise 25% of the entire market for cannabis in the U.S.

However, due to the immaturity of the market, little data is available to help support the industry. In order to help shape product development and strategic decision-making, companies need to ask fundamental questions, like who buys the product and what do they use it for?

To help fill these knowledge gaps, NorCal Cannabis Company undertook a first-of-its-kind study of California’s cannabis consumers. Using an online panel, the survey questioned 1529 people and represents of all California cannabis consumers 21 years and older.

The result is Five Myths of Today’s California Cannabis Consumer.

Jeffrey Graham is the VP of Business Intelligence at NorCal Cannabis Company. He helps the company make smarter business decisions using data. According to Graham, they decided to carry out this research because “there were many fundamental questions about the California cannabis consumer that were unanswered, so we decided to conduct research on our own.”

According to Graham, the most surprising thing he discovered during the research process was that many of the preconceptions about cannabis aren’t true. So they decided to group their findings into five myths:

Myth 1: Recreational users get high for fun, while medical users are focused on their health.

The reality is, most cannabis consumers use cannabis for both recreational and medical reasons.

Myth 2: Women are an emerging market segment of new cannabis consumers.

In fact, women already use cannabis as much as men.

Myth 3: A handful of brands are dominating the California cannabis market.

The truth is that no brand has achieved a significant foothold in the market.

Myth 4: All Californians have access to legal cannabis.

Unfortunately, in reality, they don’t.

Myth 5: Consumers are migrating from dispensaries to delivery.

In reality, consumers want an omnichannel experience to maximize their experiences.

“What concerns us is the lack of availability that exists for regulated cannabis for so many people,” says Graham on the finding. “The research shows how cannabis gives relief for so many people for things like pain, insomnia and depression. California voters approved the legalization of cannabis, but people still do not have legal access throughout most of the state.”

Graham believes that the study is important because it shows that cannabis helps with “a variety of fundamental and important ways” and it isn’t a simple case of ‘recreational’ and ‘medicinal’

“I would like people to understand that many of the assumptions they have about cannabis consumers, cannabis usage, and cannabis availability may be wrong,” says Graham.

To read the NorCal Cannabis Company’s report in full, visit

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