New Report on Cannabis Consumers in Legal States

A new report by Quinn Thomas and DHM Research focuses on recreational cannabis consumer behaviors and demographics 


A report was just released by Quinn Thomas and DHM Research that takes a deep dive into the demographics of cannabis consumers in the three states that were first to legalize recreational cannabis in the United States. The report, Cannabis Next Door: A Profile of the Consumers Driving a New Industry, is based on research from an online survey of 900 cannabis consumers in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, a dozen in-depth interviews of industry leaders, policymakers, employers and advocacy leaders, and focus groups in Oregon and Washington. Due to the large and random sample size for their survey data, they expect a margin of error of just +/- 3.3%.

First they interviewed the industry folks to learn more about the industry and to help develop a strategy and create the most useful questions possible for the survey and focus groups. This step was critical to developing truly helpful insights into cannabis users and their attitudes.

“These interviews provided context to the issues we wanted to explore, while helping to identify other questions they felt would advance the objective of understanding cannabis users better,” they explain in the introduction.

They surveyed 300 current cannabis users in each of the three states. The consumers were broken down in three categories: Regular User – consumes nearly daily (a mean of 24 times per month), Occasional User – consumes 7 to 8 times per month, Infrequent User – consumes 2 to 3 times per month.

Some highlights of the demographics they report:

  • Cannabis users are evenly divided in age (22-34, 35-54, 55+)
  • 47% of cannabis users earn $50,000 a year or less
  • 51% of cannabis users are married
  • 60% of cannabis users own their own home
  • 2/3 of cannabis users do not have children at home

A Deeper Dive

They do a deeper dive into more information and even the behaviors of cannabis users in the section, Getting To Know A Cannabis User. They show type of work, education level, whether religion is important, and even upbringing information. Age, income, gender and ethnicity information is provided along with thoughtful analysis of reasons consumers use cannabis and differences in their use before and after legalization.

There is a section on product preferences and retail experiences which explores the types of products used, what motivates buyers and what their preferences are in effects. They discuss brand loyalty and consumer trends surrounding branding and brand differentiation. They even discuss employment issues, drug testing and cannabis use at work.

Consumers Drive Markets

In their conclusion, they recognize the market as it should be—a consumer base that chooses cannabis as a safe alternative for stress or pain relief, to simply relax, or both. As they state in their conclusion:

“Early industry revenue and growth is clearly being driven by regular consumers of cannabis, many of whom used prior to legalization. But when you think about cannabis as a replacement for alcohol or opioids, the size of the market takes on a much different look and feel. The consumer who seeks relief from stress or pain can now address those issues through easy access to numerous retail outlets and an abundance of products, all tailored to fit their individual preference.”

To get a copy of the report, visit

Keith Mansur

Keith Mansur is the founder, publisher, and editor of Oregon Cannabis Connection newspaper. The print publication has been serving Oregon since 2010. He has been a Oregon medical marijuana patient, grower, and caregiver since 2006. Find him on Facebook or email him at

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