Cannabis in the U.S.: Introducing the American Cannabis Chronicles

Cannabis in the U.S.

Cannabis has a long history in the United States. George Washington grew cannabis as one of his primary crops, and medicinal preparations of cannabis became available in American pharmacies in the 1850s. The cultivation of hemp appeared on the ten-dollar bill as late as 1900. But, starting in 1906, increased restrictions and labeling of cannabis as a poison began in many states. Outright prohibitions began in the 1920s, reaching a peak when the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 made it illegal throughout the country.

But starting in the late 1990s some states—notably California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, and the District of Columbia—legalized it for medical use. And, in 2012, Washington and Colorado voted to become the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. followed in 2014, with California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine taking the same path in 2016. In 2018, the recreational use of cannabis was legalized by state legislature in Vermont (the only state thus far to legalize in this way), and through ballot measure in Michigan. North of the border, in late 2018 Canada became just the second country in the world (behind Uruguay) to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Click here for our report on cannabis in Canada.

Overall, we found that Americans in states with legal recreational cannabis use struggle to balance their positive experiences and opinions with their negative perceptions and concerns about cannabis. But good news for the industry is that, while public opinion on cannabis is mixed, the most common feelings are positive.

While cannabis still has a stoner-stigma (nearly or more than one-half of legal-state Americans say they associate doing dumb things, lazy, risky, and waste of time with cannabis), by and large cannabis is viewed positively – more than seven-in-ten associate cannabis with relaxing, relief, socially acceptable in moderate amounts, natural, and happy. This dichotomy highlights one of the key challenges faced by the cannabis industry as it continues to strive for normalization.

In the Cannabis Chronicles, we track key perceptions of cannabis, how they compare with perceptions of other legal substances, and what the opportunities and risks are as the cannabis industry works towards growth and normalization.

To learn more about how Americans perceive cannabis, in general, and relative to beer, wine, spirits, tobacco and vaping in particular, download our free report Cannabis Chronicles: American’s Perceptions of Cannabis. To learn more about how Maru/Matchbox can help you better understand the cannabis current and potential consumer contact me.

Download Report

About the Maru/Matchbox Cannabis Chronicle

The Maru/Matchbox Cannabis Chronicle, first fielded in December 2018, is an ongoing study tracking cannabis consumption, cannabis attitudes, reaction to potential cannabis innovations, as well as awareness, usage, and attitudes of key brands in the cannabis space. The study is conducted among U.S. states where cannabis is legal for recreational consumption, as well as those residing in Canada.

For more information, please contact Kyle Davies.

About the Maru/Blue Cannabis Community

Our sister company Maru/Blue has a community of pre-identified cannabis consumers. Cannabis Community members from across the U.S. and Canada have been extensively profiled on their cannabis consumption and consumption intentions. Additionally, they are profiled on how they consume and wish to consume, including smoking, vaping, edibles and beverages. There is no need for guesswork or unnecessary screening and demographic questions. This creates a better respondent experience and more room for asking questions that really matter.



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