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Marijuana Business News

Many Marijuana Companies Don’t Understand The Average Marijuana Consumer

cannalope haze marijuana strainThere’s something that I have told people in the marijuana industry over and over and over and it almost always falls on deaf ears. The marijuana consumer is not like consumers in other industries. Whereas many other industries have cookie cutter consumers that have buying habits and preferences that can easily be predicted, the average marijuana consumer is like me – poor, doesn’t like corporations, and comes from a counter culture background. We don’t consume marijuana because it’s cool, we consume marijuana because we like to get high, and we don’t like posers. Sure, there are marijuana consumers from all areas of society (rich, professional, etc), but the vast majority of marijuana consumers grew up frequenting head shops, had to make their purchases in the shadows, and were likely not from an affluent background.

This is something that a lot of marijuana companies don’t get because they are new to the marijuana world. Before the marijuana world was profitable, these same people worked for corporations and likely made fun of marijuana consumers. Now that there is legit money to be made, they have dollar bills in their eyes and are trying to do what they can to seem like they ‘are down’ with the average marijuana consumer. But all the while in the back of their minds they want to change the marijuana consumer from a ‘stoner’ to something else that they find more acceptable. They want the marijuana consumer to be a person in a suit, who bases marijuana and marijuana product purchases off of the same criteria that they buy their BMW off of.

I hate to break it to these people, but even though more and more people are entering the marijuana world everyday, the vast majority of marijuana consumers are still like me (I drive a broken down Nissan FYI). We are proud to be stoners, and proud to not be part of the mainstream. We don’t fit into a box, can’t be easily categorized in a consumer market survey, and don’t wear suits. We want to get high, super, super high, and make fun of corporate people that are scrambling to get a foothold in the emerging marijuana industry. We prefer a cottage industry, we prefer to give our dollars to people that have fought for reform for the last several decades, rather than give our dollars to someone who thinks they can ‘change the image marijuana.’ We like the image of marijuana, which is why we have been marijuana consumers for so long.

A company has recently been losing customers because they wanted to ‘weed out the stoners’ from the marijuana industry. They are now learning the hard way that they don’t know jack squat about the average marijuana consumer who is offended by that business strategy. It’s a similar scenario to a popular vaporizer company who proudly drug tested all their employees. Average marijuana consumers don’t like arbitrary drug testing, of any kind, which the company had to find out the hard way. I’m happy to say that particular company got it right and changed their policy to an impairment based policy, but only after losing some customers.

If you are in the marijuana industry, or are thinking about getting into the marijuana industry, do us all a favor and don’t think that you can single handedly ‘weed out the stoners.’ Stoners like me are largely the marijuana consumer base. If you make it sound like we aren’t good enough to be your customers, then we won’t be. We will take our dollars elsewhere and you will be left with the demographic that you prefer, which is a person in a suit that buys marijuana rarely, doesn’t buy any ancillary marijuana products and services, and probably doesn’t promote things via word of mouth because their ivy league friends don’t even consumer marijuana. Meanwhile stoners will take their dollars elsewhere, stoners who buy marijuana constantly, spend almost every dollar they have on ancillary marijuana products and services, and tell all of their fellow stoners what they like and dislike.

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  • Cyndysub

    Yes always vote with your dollars on what you chose what to buy or not.

  • I’m sure they will gain business from their stance as well. Like it or hate it, the result of more legalization is more of the mainstream using the herb. Cannabrand is addressing the mainstream folks not the stoners. You aren’t their market. They are only guilty of using offensive language but not much else.

    I think providing alternatives to stoner culture like yoga classes and retreats will help win over more people to the herb.

  • calvet11

    Mr. Green, a light out of the darkness. Thank you Sir for an article that made since. You have accurately described myself in almost every way. Free “pot” from Wall Street. Screw you Johnny Come Lately’s. By the way I am 65 yoa, an Air Force Nam vet, on disability, I mostly walk the line except for this. I’ve smoked weed, pot, hash and ganga in a couple dozen countries on 3 continents,(sorry North and South Poles and South America, haven’t got there yet). Paid taxes, bought homes and cars, raised a family all while mostly stoned and never caused a problem. So good for you Mr. Green, good for you!

  • Well done, Johnny. (Though we have the same habitual typo of “consumer” for “consume”. You should see how tough it is for me to type “normal” with an A!)

  • David

    An excellent article. One which also highlights exactly why sick and ill medical marijuana patients should not have to wait in line behind tourists and local retail consumers (who only want to get high after all) in order to purchase their medicine.

  • painkills2

    Comedic relief… Because it’s Thursday.

  • Ron

    The most pathetic thing of all is that the people of your focus can’t afford the exorbitant prices of legal marijuana, so they will continue to rely on the black market. It’s sad that those of us who fought the good fight for decades are now being left behind in favor of the affluent newbies. But there’s hope for us; grow your own (as I do) and you won’t have to pay the high prices and won’t have to put money into the tin cups of governments who fought long and hard for prohibition and now have the audacity to ask us to pay them for what should be a natural right for all people. In fact, governments should be liable for all the harm they have caused by prohibition.

    • David

      People should really think very hard and do a great deal of pre-grow educational research before deciding to grow their own cannabis. Disliking more affluent newbies or a hatred of government shouldn’t be a determining factor either. Neither should economic’s. People should take into consideration what the carbon footprint of their grow would be vs. just purchasing it. Rarely, in my decades being around grows have I found saving money an actual reality. If one considers time involved, power consumption, Heat & humidity, bug infestations, nosy neighbors, security /safety related issues. Many of these come into play at some point and can sometimes lead to unexpected costly consequences. This is not to say that many people don’t grow successfully. However, the ones who stick it out long-term for personal use remain a small minority. As with most things in life, It’s normally less expensive and stressful to just buck up and use professionals.

      • Ron

        Of course, anyone planning to grow should do extensive research first. There’s all sorts of things to consider beforehand: indoor or outdoor, med or rec, climate (if outdoor), soil prep, stealth factor and others. Fortunately, the Internet offers all one needs to know. Sure the Internet has a lot of BS, but also lots of good stuff. Growing probably isn’t a viable option for many, but it’s worth looking into. Hey, I did it and if I can do it anyone can do it. Maybe a good start would be an auto-flowering strain; low production and low potency, but fast and easy to grow. For me it has definitely been a money saver (to say nothing of no longer contributing to cartels), but, again, maybe not for everyone. Till, it’s worth checking out as an option to price gouging and tax collecting.

  • Sarijuana

    Good Read, Johnny. I love it when you take off on a subject like this, and wish you’d do it more often.

    I fit some of your profile, but not all of it and I believe the typical weed consumer is evolving into something in-between you and I. I used to be just like you, and have moved into a being different kind of weed consumer as time has wrinkled my skin and fattened my purse and ass. There are A LOT of us, and the “vast majority” you speak of is a shrinking demographic. As more different types of weed consumers enter the market, market shift is inevitable. And as younger generations come up behind you and I, and marijuana products become more mainstream and available, the old-style head shops and corner weed merchants will fade into history. Just as some young people chuckle over the old school hippies that are still living the dream in tie-dye and a VW bus, there will be people looking at you or I in the same way someday. This also is inevitable and probably more close to happening than any of us imagined a few years ago. Any company entering this new market that ignores this market shift is stupid and won’t last.

    Our house sitter is from Colorado, (will work for weed!). She brought us a few magazines from up north and it was hugely fun to browse through them. My husband and I were grinning from ear to ear with delight in how mainstream the whole industry is becoming in CO. Just like many magazines, it was unfortunate that there was a lack of real reading and waaaay too many ads. But the wide range of the types of ads was very telling. From stuffy ads targeting nose-in-the-air “connoisseurs, to cartoon ads that look like someone’s cousin’s brother with a limited knowledge of photoshop did the ad for a jar of bud, the target audiences were quite obvious for most of the adverts. The ads that intrigued me the most were clean, to the point, and chock full of real info that would help me make an educated choice. That’s just me.

    Any company that thinks they will cover all markets with any single kind of advertising could be committing business suicide. Some companies have a very specific target audience and they want it that way. Smart companies will cover different audiences with many forms of ads placed wisely in different markets, and they will do better than others, in my opinion. Companies that only target people who are NOT the ones with money to spend, but love to get really, really high, are destined for doom.

  • stoner_stuff

    HELLA YA!!! VERY NICELY SAID, dude.

    We couldn’t have said it any better.

  • Gypsy Marchington

    Hell yeah tell them straight john , there noob’s always will be inexperienced complete NOOB’S lol,
    they have no knowledge or experiance of it’s surply or it’s use . fact .
    this aint no corporate industry , it’s an already established cottage industry , , and us the old school , were the source of all
    it’s knowledge .
    end of .

  • Guess Hadesty

    I have to disagree. Not with everything, but I would have to say the average Cannabis user has used Cannabis in fear for all these years, as the article pretty much states. It might be the consumer who needs to adapt to the legal Cannabis market. They may have to get used to the fact that they can go to a store and get better weed than they may have gotten on the black market. They might have to get used to the idea of getting up off their lazy butts period, because that black market Cannabis might have just come to them via delivery. No more shady set up’s, or awful parking lot meetings.

    While I can not say I support the business model of this company, I can say they might be instead making the conversion possible here. The average “stoner” is no longer the average “stoner”, because now Cannabis is legal… so there are so many varying faces of “stoner” that there is no feasible way to possibly stereotype Cannabis users at this point anymore. This is a good thing, because quite frankly the term “stoner” is a degrading word. This place is marketing to the new Cannabis user.

    So whichever way one may see it, it might be good to consider the psychology and acceptance factor behind the entire thing, rather than dismissing it as a place that sells Cannabis that would consider turning customers away, because I am sure this is probably not the case.

    • Gypsy Marchington

      better weed from a novice ,,, you shaw about that statement m8 , cause I stoped reading your dribble right there pal .

      • Guess Hadesty

        When did I say anything about better weed from a novice? I think you may have commented on the wrong post.

  • Thank you Johnny for articulating what I found most offensive by that upstart PR firm. They know nothing about the demographic, nor of the challenges that lay ahead vis a vis legalization.

    I am hopeful that prices will continue to come down. I also hope that new state laws will enable the “mom and pop” stores to thrive, and will not simply price out those not representing the 1%.

  • Denny

    If you really want to see legalization nationwide any time soon, then it’s essential to stop using the “stoner” stereotype when addressing the issue with the general public. Why would anyone want to support a movement being pushed by the stereotypical stoner who’s routinely depicted as a jobless dude setting on a funky sofa smoking a joint and laughing about getting welfare $$ to spend on weed. This image does nothing other than further distance the mainstream citizen from supporting legalization and valid medical use. Credibility is the key to moving things forward, not the same old Cheech and Chong mindset.

    • Joseph

      yes to the above ^^^^^. the Cheech and Chong mindset is what is holding back the fight for legalization and legitimization, we need to try and adopt different terminology to make our points, for now, whether we are medical users or recreational users. i.e. “patients,” or “stoners.”

  • nah man

    pretty much exactly what the last guy / Denny said. If anybody *really* gives a shit about the advancement of cannabis rights & federal legalization, they might consider ditching some long-held ideals and re-framing some things; lines like “we want to get high, super super high” in this article aren’t doing anything to help the stereotype & the laws. The fact that we called our bill “State Bill 420” (really???), the LEGISLATION ITSELF is even tainted by old stoner stereotypes. I don’t want to get “high, super super high.” I’ve been using cannabis since I was 16. When I was 16, I wanted to get super super high. It was the same idea as dropping acid. Now, I don’t like to get super super high. I like to smoke in a medicinal way, in small increments but constantly throughout the day, with well-chosen strains that allow me to function and be a productive member of society. I drive a BMW (because it’s a really well made car and I can afford it), I make what most people would consider a ridiculously good living doing what I love, and I’ve been smoking cannabis all day every day for the last 16 years. I would not consider myself a “stoner.” That said, I smoke about 2 grams of cannabis per day. I just use it as a way to motivate me, enhance my life, and ease the anxiety of daily life. I buy it from dispensaries and grow my own as a hobby. I put fat tips in the jars and write good reviews for everybody on weedmaps and leafly and tell my friends where to / where not to go. I try to be a representative of the “medical marijuana community” who legitimizes it to the non-believers and outsiders; try to tell them how people with legitimal medical needs use it, how I myself use it, and how it’s not the same stereotype as it was 2 or 3 decades ago; it’s not Half Baked or Cheech & Chong anymore. But I know some of that is bullshit, because I constantly read articles like this and see that the “stoner” mentality is still extremely prevalent. I see in the dispensaries that a majority of people there are probably there because … “they just want to get really really high.” And that bums me out because that’s not medical marijuana. That’s recreational marijuana. By all means let the stoners get stoned, they certainly aren’t hurting anybody. But like a lot of other drugs, cannabis can be used medicinally, and the lines are so blurred right now between the two uses it’s attributed to the polarizing situation we’re in right now as a country regarding cannabis law.

  • kakster

    Everyone chill and that a moment to bask (bake) in this new frontier of recreational pot. More production, the prices are coming down, and there are now so many strains to choose from. Can’t agree with your logic Johnny about medical patients having to wait in line, cause in Spokane, there are no lines. Just a steady stream of happy people. :) Time to go hit some Sour Wreck. Life is good. Legalize Now!

  • Guest

    The author is an idiot who doesn’t substantiate any of his nebulous claims with even the slightest bit of proof. Any surveys on consumption demographics? Just jargon and nonsense, about what I would expect from a Public Policy degree. I don’t know who this is, but he is only doing a disservice to this industry and those in it. This is not the “intelligent” debate we need and frankly you do NOT speak for us.

    • David

      Did we read the same article ? Which points in this very concise, well written article did you specifically object ?

  • Brendan

    This isn’t of any value without substantial data. The entire article was subjectively based on opinion.