The future is female, especially in the cannabis industry. Once thought of as a male-dominated industry, women are making great strides in cannabis. In 2013, only six percent of women in the U.S. reported using cannabis. Today, around nine percent of women use cannabis, accounting for roughly 33.6% of cannabis purchases. That may seem like a small percentage, but that still translates to around 15.11 million women, which is nearly twice the population of Switzerland.
Women are a powerful force in the cannabis industry, and one of the fastest-growing consumer segments, but why? Why are more women using weed today? There are four primary reasons:
Understandably, increasing legality is one of the biggest drivers of cannabis use. In 2020, four states voted to legalize adult-use cannabis, and two more states voted to legalize medical cannabis. With nearly one-third of the U.S. population now residing in an adult-use cannabis state, more women than ever are feeling comfortable trying cannabis for the first time. Not only that, but they are also recognizing the business opportunities that come from legalization.
2. Increasing Social Acceptance
In a 2018 survey, 70% of North American women said they believe cannabis use carries a stigma, and 66% say they hide their cannabis use. According to a report by the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, women actually make up 58% of all cannabis consumers, although that figure is hotly contested. While that cannabis still carries a stigma, the number of women reporting cannabis use is going up, and one of the reasons why is that people are becoming more accepting. Roughly two-thirds (59%) of the U.S. believes that adult-use cannabis should be legal, up from 48% in 2010. As cannabis use continues to become more mainstream, women will continue to step out of the shadows as cannabis consumers.
3. Better Product Variety
For much of the legal cannabis industry’s history, flower has been the only option. However, over the years cannabis has started to come in a variety of forms. With a better variety of products, more women started to become interested in cannabis. A 2018 study by Headset found that women purchased 19 percent more vapes, 47 percent more topicals, and 42 percent more tinctures than male consumers. Though the study did not explicitly examine why women prefer these methods, one suggestion offered was that women take a more nuanced approach to cannabis, emphasizing wellness.
4. The Rise of Female-Centric Brands
Cannabis is often seen as a male-dominated industry, which has led to some rather unfortunate marketing campaigns and brands. Fortunately, over the last several years, there has been an explosion of female-centered brands; like TSO Sonoma, LEUNE, or Kiva Confections. These products are made by women, for women; and that has a powerful effect on consumers.