Weed is legal but consumption is flat. So how to grow as a cannabis company?


Cannabis is having its moment in the sun, not just in post-legalization Canada, but in the United States as well, where it’s legal in some states. Oscar swag bags, in fact, will contain a range of cannabis-infused products, including weed chocolates and moisturizers.

The swag bags are the work of marketing company Distinctive Assets, which is apparently keen to capitalize on what appears to be a growing appetite for cannabis in North America.

But is that really so?

A recent Statistics Canada report contains some fascinating insights about Canadian consumption of cannabis products since legalization in October. The most interesting factoid is that Canadian cannabis use has not surged at all in four months, contrary to the fears and concerns raised by those who opposed making it legal. The National Cannabis Survey found that, in fact, the proportion of Canadians who use cannabis has remained steady at about 15 per cent.

The survey also found that the majority of cannabis consumers across the country preferred a smokeable form of weed rather than edibles and oils, and wanted to buy from bricks-and-mortar stores instead of online. It also found that most recreational cannabis users are still buying from illegal vendors.

This is invaluable information for any Canadian weed company.

First:  The market is crowded with weed companies, yet it doesn’t appear that new customers are showing up in droves to buy what’s on offer, nor are regular users rushing to buy from legal outfits.

So how to compete for those cannabis consumers to ensure your company’s growth? How to lure them away from the black market? It will require inventive marketing.

If consumers are failing to embrace edibles and other forms of cannabis, a savvy company will amass as much data as possible, including via media monitoring, to try to determine what’s at play. Is there a fear factor about edibles? Are there news stories or social media content out there about people who have had bad experiences? If so, your company has to grapple with those fears and ensure edibles are being manufactured and marketed responsibly.

Same goes for online purchases. Privacy concerns have been raised about buying weed online, and how United States officials might have access to purchasing information, causing potential difficulties at the border. Canadians have already faced problems at the border when asked by U.S. customs officials if they’ve ever smoked weed before. These stories have a chilling effect.

So protecting your clients’ privacy is absolutely paramount, and any reputable cannabis company will do everything possible to ensure their clients’ purchasing information is kept away from the prying eyes of countries that are anti-legalization.

What’s more, they’ll ponder doing things the old-fashioned way, and opening up physical stores that make potential customers feel more comfortable about indulging.

As in every sector, market research, data and media monitoring of the type Provident offers via our Provident Intelligencer service is absolutely critical. It will help your company determine what customers are looking for, and what they’re nervous about, now that cannabis is legal. Don’t get left behind. Amass as much information as you can, and market accordingly.