There’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.