History and propaganda has given us a pretty clear (and probably inaccurate) idea of who buys illegal weed. Popular culture is full of stoners, swingers, dead-heads, and deadbeats who wheeze out their words in a high-pitched croak while they hold down a lungful of smoke.
That’s illegal weed, the buyers of which hide their activities for obvious reasons. But we can be a little more accurate with legal weed, and Headset, a marketing data company, has put together a report looking at the people who smoke it. "So," the report, published on Priceonomics asks, "what does the typical, recreational marijuana user look like today?"
Headset's data comes from cannabis retailers, based on customer loyalty programs. And the first finding is that legal weed smokers are overwhelmingly male, comprising 70% of customers. Weed smokers are young, too. The age range runs from 21 all the way up to an arthritis-busting 95, but half of all loyalty program members are under 40. But who buys most of all? You will not be surprised to learn that the biggest customers for legal weed are aged 25-29, accounting for over 20% of all purchases.
What about spending? Headset broke down the per-trip purchase numbers into bands. The most common per-trip spend is $25-$50, accounting for almost 36% of customers. Some spend a little less, some a little more, but the majority of buyers purchase under $100 of marijuana products at a time, with only 8% spending more than that. The interesting parts here are the outliers. While only 0.1% of loyalty members buy $500+ of weed at a time, the surprise is that anyone spends that much at all. God knows what they spend on sweet and salty snacks to satisfy their munchies.
Yearly, the most common spend is $1,000-$2,500, accounting for 25% of customers. Only 2% spend over $5,000.
The data goes into all kinds of detail that is mostly of interest to retailers, like median items per purchase, but there’s one other fact you may be interested to learn: Men and women buy different kids of weed products. While roughly 50% of both male and female customers buy "flower," or what our weed-smoking readers will probably know as "bud," there are small variations in preference when it comes to other products. Women prefer edibles, and pre-rolled products, while men prefer concentrates. When it comes to vapor-pens, the genders are all but equal, proving that neither male nor female weed smokers care if they look like big dorks.
Older customers also prefer edibles, with the over-80s accounting for the largest proportion of edibles buyers.
While it’s hard to get actual numbers for smokers of illegal weed, anyone who smokes, or who lives in a country where weed is technically illegal but socially acceptable, will recognize these patterns, especially the age data. One thing that would be quite interesting to see would be how these weed numbers compare to other drugs like tobacco and alcohol. Maybe one day supermarkets will start selling weed and marijuana-based products, and those comparisons can be made properly.
[Photo: Heath Korvola/Getty Images]