In States Where It’s Legal, Most People Get Their Weed From the Store

New survey paints a bleak picture for the traditional pot dealer in legal states.

More than half of cannabis consumers in states where weed is legal get their stuff at the store, according to newly released survey data.

The survey, which comes via New Frontier Data, found that “52% of current consumers say their primary source is a brick-and-mortar dispensary and only 6% say their primary source is a dealer” in states where adult-use marijuana is legal.

According to the survey, “43% of [all] current consumers say that a brick-and-mortar dispensary is their primary source of cannabis, compared to 34% in 2022,” while 10% “of current consumers say that their primary source is a dealer, down from 13% in 2022.”

“Interestingly, 29% of current consumers in illicit markets say that their primary source is also a brick-and-mortar dispensary compared to 17% who say they use dealers. This means that, even in illicit markets, consumers are travelling (sic) across state lines to obtain cannabis from a regulated source, as 42% of consumers say they have sourced cannabis from out of state,”Dr. Amanda Reiman, the chief knowledge officer at New Frontier Data, wrote in the survey’s analysis said.

Dozens of states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized recreational cannabis for adults, a wave of normalization that has made the weed shopping experience much like a run to the drug store or supermarket.

As Reiman put it: “In many ways and in many places, cannabis has become another errand to take care of on the way home from work.”

“It is not just cannabis sourcing that is beginning to mimic traditional commerce, the reasons that consumers give for choosing a particular source are also meeting the mainstream. The top reasons consumers give for choosing a particular brick-and-mortar dispensary are product quality, product selection, price, knowledgeable staff, and convenient location. These are the top reasons people choose grocery stores (location, price, product selection, product quality, and friendly and knowledgeable staff),” Reiman wrote. 

“One remnant of prohibition that comes out in the sourcing data is the reason that consumers give for choosing the same businesses over and over again, which is familiarity. This was cited by 58% of consumers as the reason they keep coming back to the same store. Almost 20 years ago, I conducted a study of medical cannabis patients and asked this question about their go-to medical cannabis dispensary. Familiarity was also the top reason given. During prohibition, acquiring cannabis was a process with rules. What you could say, what you couldn’t, how to properly pay and contact your dealer, all with the risk of arrest. Knowing exactly what the rules were and what was expected of you was a part of the process. In some ways, that anxiety has held on into legalization for many consumers, who, even though they are purchasing in a legal market, may still feel a sense of doing something wrong and needing to adhere to specific protocols. As the legal market matures, I expect that familiarity will become less important and that the other reasons given for loyalty (convenient location, knowledgeable staff, and product selection) will become more important to consumers.”

Reiman added: “The number of consumers sourcing from brick-and-mortar dispensaries will continue to rise as more legal markets come online, and even those in illicit markets will have greater access to legal stores. Like other areas of commerce, location, product selection, and staff will drive dispensary business, and consumers will relax into this new reality of cannabis as a consumer-packaged good.”

  1. Can we please do away with this Delta 8 and Delta 10 variant garbage?! Or it’s doing is make people not trust others and they’re already finding out ways to cut your weed to make more money, greed etc. Smokers don’t want any of that gas station garbage! Okay? Smokers want Delta 9 and don’t want to have to worry about if it’s going to be some garbage that doesn’t have any effect on them whatsoever! Get that shit out of our gas stations and don’t even think about putting it in a dispensaries or making that even an option when we had known nothing about it and it’s also another synthesized something that it’s going to hurt people or at very least screwed up for everybody that’s doing things correctly!

    1. Amen. I tried Delta 8. It was like low-potency pot, but if you smoked enough of it, it was a passable high. The problem was I woke up the next day with a bad hangover that lasted for three days! – There’s no telling what chemicals they are using to extract it. — I’ve already heard that some states have ruled it must be sold in the cannabis stores. That’s scary. I keep having visions of shady store owners who may “boost” some marginal cannabis by spraying it with this synthetic stuff! – We have to demand a clear separation and clear labeling. – What we need is a strong, national cannabis consumer’s union.

  2. Before my State went recreational a few months ago I was paying $200/oz on the black market. Now I’m paying $170/half oz. What a ripoff with all the greed & taxes!
    It’s really looking bad for the legal scene & will no doubt ending up like the debacle in Cali due to the sane reasons.

    1. After 86 years of Reefer Madness prohibition, the transition back to legality was always going to be a rocky roller coaster. But after the federal prohibition soon collapses, the national market will develop quickly. Then, streamlined market forces will bring prices down to their natural level, of $25 to $40 an ounce. It’s just a plant.

      1. Yup. Here in the legal (free) state of Oregon, you can find $30 – $50 ounces at dispensaries all day long. For smaller amounts, I’ve seen as little as $1.30 per gram. That is including tax, too. Don’t believe these liars. They are either prohibitionists trying to undermine the legal market, or shady black market dealers trying to undermine the legal market. Both have the same goals. And both have no problem lying to suit their greedy agenda.

  3. Nothing like growing your own for the cost of electricity….
    IT ends up being about 25$ a pound for me.

  4. I buy some in stores. I live in NJ. Stores are more expensive than delivery services. I check online, send a text, and a few hours later someone delivers it. Much cheaper and easier than a store. It all seems to come from California. I am paying between 100 and 150 a Z. Cheaper than the NYC dealer I used for 30 years. I love legalization.

  5. I went to Oz Cannabis in Detroit Michigan, paid $40 for an ounce of smell good, burn good, taste good. No sense dealing with my street guys still charging 40,50 an eighth. Prices dropping here in Michigan.

  6. I’d love to see metrics on how many of those who are still purchasing on the black market come from lower income communities. Price gouging paired with unreasonably high taxes have made much of the white market a luxury service. “Top shelf” eighths are seeing prices as high as $100 in some California shops.

  7. Legal or not am stick to BUY420 WEEDS DOT COM because of the prices, i get an OZ for 200bucks but this disposa be killing people with almost double the pricing.

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