Looking For Cannabis Legality
Support for cannabis legalization is growing in the United States and the cannabis industry is exploding right along with it. As new states continue to legalize, those living in cannabis-unfriendly areas are likely wondering when they’ll be next and where they can buy.
For companies looking to break into the “green” market, there’s no better time to sell your services – but with cannabis legality varying from state to state, it’s important to get it right.
In order to find out where America’s most cannabis-curious are located, we recently analyzed Google searches in all 50 states and in 34 of the largest cities where cannabis is not yet fully legal. In addition, we surveyed over 1,000 Americans to learn more about their feelings on cannabis legalization, cannabis use, and marketing in the United States.
Those most interested in legality seem to be centralized in the American west, with Wyoming topping the list (no.1) with its nearby neighbors North Dakota (no. 2), Iowa (no. 4), and Nebraska (no. 5) rounding out the top 5. West Virginia is the odd man out in the 3rd slot, representing the East Coast.
Southern and Eastern states with mixed legality rank lowest on our list, including Maryland (no. 30), Florida (no. 33). and Pennsylvania (no. 34). These states have medicinal programs, different laws around CBD usage, and some have even decriminalized cannabis.
We found significant search volume inquiring about legalization in states where cannabis is already on the books, most notably, high search volumes in Alaska.
Most Cannabis Curious, by City
America’s major metro areas are hubs for all kinds of businesses. But is the same true for canna-business? We looked at interest at the city-level, analyzing search queries surrounding questions of legalization in 34 of the country’s biggest cities.
Interestingly, the top 5 cities that are searching for state cannabis legalization are all located in states where cannabis is completely illegal with Southern and Western states taking the lead. Birmingham, Alabama wins the number 1 slot with Charleston, SC (no. 2), Cheyenne, WY, Nashville, Omaha, and Charlotte not far behind.
American Cannabis Use
With changing degrees of cannabis legalization across the country, are sentiments about cannabis products changing with the times? According to our recent survey, nearly 60% say they use cannabis products.
Also, not all cannabis users are interested in purchasing from a dispensary – if given the opportunity, 55% of our respondents would “grow their own,” with the most would-be home growers hailing from Montana (no. 1), Arizona (no. 2) and Connecticut (no. 3).
A whopping 92% of Americans we surveyed are on board with cannabis legalization with 67% looking forward to both medical and recreational use and 25% for medical use only.
When it comes to why cannabis should be made legal in the United States, answers ran the gamut. The most popular reason? Freedom. Forty five percent of respondents believe that cannabis use is a “matter of freedom or personal choice,” with medical reasons (25%), and freeing up law enforcement (10%) rounding out the top three reasons.
Interestingly, only 3% of respondents believe that government regulation of cannabis products should be the main reason for legalization. However, out of those that believe that cannabis should be legalized, 72% of respondents think that cannabis should be made legal on the federal level vs. the 24% that would prefer legalization on the state level.
When asked about the best legal age for cannabis consumption, 52% of respondents believe that 21 is the best age, with 18 not being far behind. Seven percent settled on 25 – which some scientists believe is the best age to begin for brain health.
Without a doubt, the cannabis industry is booming in the US. This raises questions about where and how cannabis products should be marketed and sold. Much like restrictions on alcohol, nicotine, and pharmaceuticals, cannabis has restrictions in place on advertising that often shift state-to-state.
We asked our respondents to weigh in on cannabis advertising and nearly 40% liken cannabis to alcohol and believe similar advertising restrictions should be on both.
Twenty-five percent of respondents feel as if cannabis is closer to nicotine and should be advertised similarly and 1 in 5 respondents that believe cannabis should be advertised as a pharmaceutical product.
When it comes to where cannabis can be purchased, respondents may be looking a little beyond the standard dispensary. Over half of all respondents think that cannabis should be available at their local pharmacies and 31% want to be able to add cannabis products to their grocery lists – suggesting that cannabis should be sold at your local supermarket, gas station, or newsstand.
The Future of Cannabis Legalization.
What does the future hold for cannabis? Well, that’s up to lawmakers. But we asked our respondents whether they felt the trend towards more widespread legalization is hurtful or helpful to society. The overwhelming majority (81%) believe legalization is helpful.
While we’ve barely scratched the surface when considering the implications of cannabis legalization in the US, one thing is clear: cannabis is here to stay.
In April 2021, we surveyed 1,062 Americans between the ages of 18-75. 49% of respondents were female and 51% respondents were male. The average age of respondents was 37 years old.
Using the Google AdWords platform, we analyzed total search volume for more than 100 phrases and questions related “when cannabis will be legal in [state]” as well variations of those keywords and phrases to account for more colloquial terms for cannabis like “weed,” “pot,” and “marijuana”. Search volume for these phrases and keywords was analyzed over the period of March 2020 to April 2021. Total search volume during this period was then calculated per capita and visualized per 100,000 for each state and largest non-legal city.