87% of Adults in US Do Not Use Marijuana – Give Me a Break!

Only 13% of adults use marijuana in the United States. Gallup recently conducted a poll of American adults with the two central questions – “Keeping in mind that all your answers in this survey are confidential, have you, yourself, ever happened to try marijuana?” and “Keeping in mind that all your answers in this survey are confidential, do you, yourself, smoke marijuana?”  One in Eight U.S. Adults Say They Smoke Marijuana.

The results were that 43% of Americans say they have ever tried marijuana. However, only 13% admitted that they currently smoke marijuana and 87% said no they do not. I moved to Portland, Oregon in November of 2015. I associate in the traditional business world but also am highly messed in the cannabis community being the founder of The Northwest Cannabis Industry Leaders Group, member of numerous cannabis organizations and a cannabis business owner. These numbers seem very low to me and would like to comment on the significance of these findings. I, myself have been a medical patient for the last 18 months but also I’ve been a fan of cannabis since being a teenager back in Texas.

First, in my experience and canvassing the population here, I believe those 2 figures are way lower than the true segments. What would be the basis of this discrepancy? Even though it is state sanctioned legal in some capacity in half the states in the country, cannabis is classified as a schedule I narcotic and as such is illegal to possess, use, purchase or sell by the federal government. Employers can and do drug test for cannabis use. So given the paranoia surrounding its use, there is a possibility that the results are invalid. I liken the question to be similar to asking someone if they are a pedophile.

Sometimes, its best to act like a politician and not to give full disclosure.

Interestingly, 58% in a 2013 Gallup poll supported the legal use of marijuana in the United States. To me this discrepancy between endorsement and use are too varied to be accurate. The general population does not support something they do not believe and participate in.

In tune with the paranoid state of cannabis consumption could there be some type of conspiracy to publish significantly lower numbers of users than is actually present? What would be the purpose of reporting inaccurate, low  results? My take is that is that this could either be political or economic in nature. Actually, politics is all economic anyway as the underlying purpose of government is to control and manipulate the populace and amass as much money and power you can.

The cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry on the planet. It is projected to be a $45 billion dollar a year enterprise by 2020. However, cannabis entrepreneurs are not appreciating the returns that they should. With the overburdening taxes and fees to be in the legal business the profit level is not what it should be. I talked with a business owner that said he did $5 million in sales in 2015 which is fantastic but when I asked what his net was he admitted only $45K. With the current situation of 280E, the fees associated with licensing, banking difficulties and general expenses are downright suppressive to building a successful business.

I understand how marketing and advertising works. This business is not going away. However, it is so disjointed and destabilized now as I even had somebody call me a civilian on Twitter because I haven’t grown any plants since I was in college. In cannabis you have a product that shows a majority of the population believes it should be legal but only 13% admit they use themselves. It is the perfect product though since it is consumable, people want it and are willing to pay cash money for it.

Consider the possibility that the actual numbers are higher but for some reason are reported much, much lower. I have been in Portland for 9 months now. I meet a lot of people both in and not in the industry and I would say the numbers are much, much higher, maybe even above 50% of the adult population which represents about 125 million adults consume cannabis in some form.

Now for argument sake let’s say it is just half of thatThat is a huge segment to market to. If that would be the actual segment to market to and not the 13% of the adult population this would make this a huge business already and not the smaller reported numbers.

The cannabis industry is being formed and honed now under the guise it isn’t as lucrative nor as large as thought. What’s worse, what if Trump becomes President and appoints Chris Christie as Attorney General? The cannabis trade will become more restrictive but it will mature and grow despite that. Could we have some family in politics that follows the lead of what Joseph Kennedy did with scotch whiskey but now in cannabis?

Cannabis will become legal in the US. That maybe 5-10 years from now but it will happen and at that time the groups that are entrenched will dominate. Many people that have struggled and laid the ground work will be swallowed up and have to sell their enterprises for a fraction of what they are worth. The industry will be like any other business and be controlled by the large conglomerates and it is being artificially manipulated now.

The third possibility is that the 13% adult usage figures are true. Personally, I don’t believe those numbers are accurate, but if that’s the case how many people in the industry are not fans of cannabis but rather anti-cannabis? That is scary as what is their motivation to be here? Is it just money or is to do harm? I had a small advertising specialty firm I started when I was in dentistry in 1986 called AlphaDontics. I wrote a blog at that time which is still being published about “Junk Advertising” http://alphadontic.blogspot.com/  That company morphed into MJ Consulting. I’ll try not to self promote too much here but as an aside to marketing and advertising read our article on Designing an Effective Brand