One in 6 Americans is a Cannabis Consumer; 10% Consume Once a Month or More

The growth of mainstream cannabis is creating opportunities for brands in a host of categories, from CPG to travel to technology. But making wise decisions about this new market requires a rich understanding of cannabis consumers “ and of the diversity of attitudes towards legalization.

MRI has just released results from the first National Cannabis Study, capturing the full spectrum of cannabis use “ the what, why, and how “ across the US. The first wave of this breakthrough study shows that 16% of all US adults “ over 38 million people — use cannabis, with 10% of the total US population consuming at least once a month and 4% on a daily basis.

Click here to download more information about the study

The new research “ created in collaboration with marketing consultants Miner & Co. Studio and conducted on KnowledgePanel “ also shows that, among cannabis consumers:

  • 26% (over 10 million people) consume daily
  • 55% are recreational consumers, while 15% are medical “ and 29% report both kinds of use
  • 19% live in the South Atlantic region “ tying the Pacific for the highest concentration of cannabis consumers

The study taps into MRIs gold-standard data on all aspects of US consumer life, from general buying styles to typical media use to the full array of social attitudes. MRIs analysis reveals that cannabis consumers are more likely than average to say that they


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  • generally like variety in brands
  • strive to achieve high social status
  • like to post reviews online
  • like to connect with brands through social networks

In addition, the new research divides the US population into six segments based on their perspective on legalization and views of cannabis. The new study also includes the first-ever segmentation of cannabis consumers based on amount and type of usage, and related attitudes.

This study offers the ability to:

  • track support of and opposition to cannabis legalization among the full US population
  • develop messages that appeal to different segments by identifying what resonates with them, from benefits to barriers
  • explore the development of new products–across brands, product lines, and categories–based on cannabis usage and attitudes
  • identify the media outlets that reach your target audience, from supporters to opponents, to current or potential users

Cannabis as a widespread industry is finally putting down roots in the US, said Karen Ramspacher, MRIs SVP of Innovation and Insights. Brands, agencies, and institutions need authoritative data to guide their decisions “ something very much lacking in this space. Our study will serve as a benchmark for anyone with a stake in the cannabis phenomenon “ from promoters to detractors. Our approach and focus will evolve as this exciting marketplace matures.

The National Cannabis Study was conducted using a nationally representative sample of over 3,000 respondents on KnowledgePanel*. The resulting dataset was fused to MRIs top-quality consumer dataset for deep profiling purposes and nationwide universe estimates. Miner & Co Studio “ leading researchers in the world of cannabis since 2014 “ provided thought leadership and ethnographies to bring the findings to life.

MRIs Survey of the American Consumer represents the gold standard in traditional planning and consumer insights. As part of the Survey, MRI conducts over 24,000 in-person, in-home interviews each year in both English and Spanish, capturing an unequaled range of information on US consumers media use, buying habits, lifestyles, and attitudes.

* Note: The cannabis survey was conducted on KnowledgePanel while it was owned by GfK; the panel has since become the property of Ipsos.

About GfK

GfK connects data and science. Innovative research solutions provide answers for key business questions around consumers, markets, brands and media “ now and in the future. As a research and analytics partner, GfK promises its clients all over the world Growth from Knowledge.

For more information, please contact Michael Panebianco [email protected], visit and follow GfK on Twitter:

David Stanton
VP, MarComms
T 908 875 9844
[email protected]