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COVID-19 May Affect Drivers of US Cannabis Consumption

Research from SoapBoxSample Reveals Cannabis Consumers Willing to Forgo Cannabis if Shortages Arise

March 30, 2020, Los Angeles, CA — Research firm SoapBoxSample released new data today from their ongoing CANNApinion Poll research initiative. The survey of 1,000 US cannabis consumers, fielded March 21 – March 24, 2020, focused on how the recent COVID-19 outbreak may be affecting cannabis consumption habits. While some report that they are consuming more cannabis as a way to relieve stress and anxiety, others say that they are consuming and purchasing less because they want to avoid going out in public to make their purchases (36% of those who report consuming less cannabis).

About half (51%) of those surveyed say they are somewhat or very concerned that their personal supply will run out during the recommended quarantine. A majority of respondents (68%) agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: If I run out during this time, that’s ok, I can live without it. When asked what they would do if their supply ran out, 55% said they will abstain and go without. These stats may indicate that there are a number of recreational cannabis consumers in the US who are not concerned about the possibility of having to forgo cannabis if their supply runs out, suggesting responsible consumption habits overall.

“In an emerging industry like cannabis, consumer habits are still in the beginning stages of development, and the cultural changes caused by COVID-19 are likely to have long lasting, or permanent effects within the cannabis industry.” said Jacqueline Rosales, COO of SoapBoxSample/icanmakeitbetter. “Perceived shortages, disruptions to family life, and changes at the dispensary can all significantly impact the choices consumers make.”

COVID-19 may be impacting consumers’ product choices, spending, and shopping habits, but this research suggests the pandemic may also affect the underlying reasons that drive cannabis consumption. Of those who said they were consuming more cannabis than usual since the pandemic, top reasons include stress relief (60%), to ease anxiety (57%), to ease fear/panic (34%) and as a way to cope with cabin fever (34%).

Among respondents who obtain cannabis through legal dispensaries, 57% have noticed changes in stores. Those who noticed changes reported seeing social distancing practices (50%), dispensaries offering online and pickup orders (41%), budtenders wearing gloves (33%), and hand sanitizing stations (39%). Consumers are also noticing changes to cannabis delivery services. Among respondents who obtain cannabis through legal delivery services, 45% have noticed changes. Of those who noticed changes to delivery services, 41% have experienced longer wait times for deliveries, items out of stock (38%), and delivery drivers wearing masks (38%).

To qualify for participation in this study, respondents must have consumed cannabis in the last 90 days and indicated their awareness of COVID-19. SoapBoxSample conducts bi-monthly surveys of cannabis consumers, designed to measure the cannabis ecosystem, including product preferences, purchasing habits and lifestyle trends. To learn more about cannabis research visit soapboxsample.com/cannabis.

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