Poll Explores New Jersey Consumer Attitudes, Habits Year Into Market Launch

Even though New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis market officially opened a little over a year ago, it’s never too early to take a pulse check of sorts regarding the Garden State’s emerging weed industry.

Stockton University released the results of a new poll of 660 New Jersey residents April 25, 2023, exploring consumer attitudes and actions as the market continues to take shape. Stockton University students texted cell phones with invitations to take the survey online, with Opinion Services supplementing the dialing portion of the field work to cell and landline telephones. Polling took place from April 1-14, 2023.

Learning About the New Jersey Cannabis Consumer

The poll explored a number of issues surrounding cannabis, including general consumer shopping habits, attitudes and behaviors in the year since the market launched. According to the poll, about one-third of New Jersey adults have used cannabis or cannabis products since recreational cannabis was legalized, and most users said they were happy to patronize a legal weed dispensary.

Among legal cannabis consumers, 47% said they used it for recreational purposes and 39% said they consumed it for both medical and recreational purposes, while just 13% used it strictly for medicinal purposes. Despite boasting some of the highest prices in the country, 69% of users bought products from a licensed cannabis dispensary, and 86% reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the experience. 

Expanding upon the widely-reported satisfying dispensary experience, 43% of consumers said they appreciated knowing that products were safe and 23% said they liked the quality. Only 7% of respondents approved of New Jersey’s cannabis prices.

Looking at cannabis big pictures, a majority of respondents (53%) supported having dispensaries in their own town selling recreational cannabis (39% opposed). When asked about the potential for adding cannabis to New Jersey’s hospitality industry, with offerings like cannabis-infused restaurants, consumption lounges and more, it was more evenly split, with 48% in support and 45% opposed.

While in the minority, the poll also explored the habits and attitude of residents and consumers who have yet to embrace the legal market. When asked why they have not visited a legal dispensary yet, the most commonly reported reason among respondents (30%) was that there was no dispensary nearby. Currently, there are 24 retail shops across the state.

Other reasons included preference for products sold elsewhere (13%) and the general cost (11%). Twenty-seven percent of respondents indicated “some other reason.” Additionally, 30% of respondents admitted they had purchased cannabis or cannabis products from unlicensed individual sellers in the past year.

The poll also offers some demographic insights on New Jersey’s cannabis users. Men (37%) were more likely than women (28%) to consume cannabis, and people under 50 were also more likely to have consumed cannabis in the past year. Specifically, 43% of 18- to 29-year-olds and 41% of 30- to 49-year-olds consumed cannabis, while only 17% of senior citizens did the same, with half strictly using cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Black people had the highest cannabis usage (39%), followed by white people (33%) and Hispanic/Latino respondents (29%), and there were no differences in usage between different regions of the state and those with or without a college degree. Democrats were also more likely (38%) to consume cannabis than Republicans (24%) or independents (32%).

While it’s still early, and a year only offers so much information, the findings highlight some of the challenges of New Jersey’s legal cannabis industry so far, along with the demand for cannabis in the state. Even though prices may be high and dispensary accessibility is still an issue, it appears consumers are generally still willing to travel and pay up to have access to safe, high-quality products. 

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