VIDEO: The Market Power of Cannabis Flower
Welcome to my latest “Weekly Weed Report.” Below is a condensed transcript. My video provides greater details and several charts.
In the marijuana industry, “flower power” lives on!
First, let’s get our definition straight. What, exactly, is cannabis flower?
“Flower” refers to the smokeable, leafy part of a cannabis plant. Flower derives its popularity from its versatility and ease of use. It can be rolled into a joint or blunt; it can be smoked using a pipe or bong. It’s even usable for cooking.
For many marijuana consumers, flower confers greater pleasure because it’s tactile and a convenient vehicle for social situations and sharing. Traditional marijuana consumption patterns that go all the way back to the 1960s have endured up to the present day.
According to a new survey released June 30 by research firm New Frontier Data, marijuana flower is by far the most popular form among consumers, accounting for 44% of total cannabis sales last year. If pre-rolled joints are included, the percentage rises to nearly 50%.
“Old school” consumption behaviors…
Marijuana has become increasingly sophisticated as a business, with a wide variety of innovative products hitting the marketplace. And yet, the old-fashioned delivery systems of joints, pipes, and bongs have retained their popularity.
The New Frontier report states: “Flower brands launching in new markets with a clearly defined strategic vision and target market will be better positioned than one-size-fits-all brands whose messaging will get diluted…
A fast-growing and dynamic marketplace is introducing cannabis to a wide range of consumers who are more intentional with their use and are complementing, not replacing, their flower consumption with other forms. Brands jockeying for position should have an understanding of preferences and behaviors across consumer groups.”
For investors, understanding the outsized role of flower is crucial to pinpointing the broader trends influencing the growth of the marijuana industry. Companies involved in growing, producing, and branding flower products have a leg up on other types of pot purveyors.
Within the total cannabis-consuming population in the U.S., 83% use flower. That percentage far outpaces edibles (56%); vapes (33%); concentrates (22%); topicals (19%); tinctures, capsules, and sublinguals (19%); and beverages (14%).
The three most frequent forms of marijuana use are smokeable flower, edibles, and vapes. Edibles are nonetheless gaining in popularity, in the form of gummies, brownies, cookies…you name it.
Significantly, the most prevalent category of smokeable flower is illicit, at 72%. Throughout the U.S. and across the border in Canada, the legalization of marijuana has fueled illicit street sales, even in areas where prohibition has been lifted.
As states and localities heavily tax marijuana products, legal pot is getting expensive, which drives many consumers to the black market. Accordingly, more and more states (e.g., California) are rolling back their levels of marijuana taxation, lest they kill the golden goose.
In terms of frequency, flower tops the list again. Consumers are not only using more of it, but they’re doing it more frequently. And regardless of frequency, the favorite form of marijuana is flower.
Demographically, younger folks (ages 18-34) tend to embrace marijuana flower to the greatest degree. Those ages 55 and older are less interested in rolling joints or filling bongs; they’re increasingly turning to quickly ingested forms such as edibles.
Seniors remain an important and growing category of marijuana users. Clinical studies show that marijuana helps relieve aches and pains from arthritis; vomiting and lack of appetite from chemotherapy; and the loneliness and depression that can afflict many seniors.
Among all demographic groups. moderation seems to predominate, with 28% of consumers reporting that they take 1-3 hits at a time, compared to 4 or 5 hits (25%); half a joint or one mini-joint (17%); one joint (20%); and two or more joints (10%).
Want to cash in on the trends I’ve just described? I urge you to read my new book: The Wide World of Weed and Psychedelics. It’s your definitive guide for making money in the thriving cannabis and psychedelics industries. Click here to get your free copy.
John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.