During the first half of 2020, Canadian consumers spent over $1 billion on recreational cannabis. Two out of five Canadians (42%) report consuming cannabis in the past year, and around one-third use cannabis weekly, yet a national survey commissioned by Pure Sunfarms with the help of the Angus Reid panel found large gaps in the consumer’s knowledge about cannabis.
The survey was distributed to more than 1500 adults across the country and reported some findings that weren’t surprising, such as dried flower being the most popular format and the majority of Canadians now buying from licenced retailers, however, some findings were surprising.
For starters, one in three consumers still isn’t sure about the major differences between Indica and Sativa, terpenes, or cannabinoids. Not only is this a disservice to customers, who could be creating a unique cannabis experience for themselves, but it is a disservice to retailers, who could be providing it for them.
According to the survey, 76% of consumers are interested in where their cannabis comes from, but only 51% actually know. That percentage is even less when it comes to knowing about growing and production specifically, with only 34% of consumers confident in their knowledge of the subject. Consumers want to know how and where their purchase is grown. Around two-thirds of respondents would prefer to purchase from a producer with a lower carbon footprint (65%) or that cultivates cannabis in a way that conserves water (61%). Additionally, eight out of ten respondents said that they would prefer pesticide-free cannabis, although, only 40% knew if their stash was chemical-free, and only 51% knew that regulated cannabis producers don’t use chemical pesticides. This was especially important to consumers over 55 years old.
While it’s not necessarily news that cannabis consumers need more knowledge, it is surprising that after two years this is still the case. To have over 30% of customers not know the meaningful differences between Indica and Sativa is like customers not knowing the difference between tequila and whiskey.
It also means that regulators and retailers have failed somewhere along the way.
In this new frontier, retailers need to lead the way and help customers learn about new and exciting products, just like any industry. If I walk into Sephora knowing nothing about makeup, I expect to walk out with a full bag and a full brain, and it should be the same with cannabis. Like knowing the right wine to pair with a steak, consumer knowledge about cannabis could not only enhance the consumer’s experience but their basket size, too.
Read the full report here.