Investing Beyond the Bong: The Latest Trends in the Marijuana Market

Matthew Carr By Matthew Carr
Emerging Trends Strategist

Market Trends
This is individual research and does not constitute investment advice.

When most people think of pot users, they think of hippies.

They envision Cheech & Chong types, or characters from Dazed and Confused.

They imagine long hair, tie-dye, faded blue jeans and round sunglasses.

I mean, it’s a look so iconic that it’s sold as a Halloween costume

Though, if you haven’t realized yet, this archetype is a little outdated.

And it’s a stereotype that investors need to rid themselves of in order to be successful in the marijuana space.

You have to understand a couple of things…

First, of the 55 million people in the U.S. who currently use marijuana, only 6 million do so on an almost-daily basis.

That means most marijuana users light up in moderation.

They wouldn’t be classified as typical bloodshot-eyed “stoners.”

Second – and there’s some irony here – the generation that saw the largest increase in marijuana orders in 2017 was the baby boomers, with 19% growth.

Baby boomers gave birth to the hippie.

We’ve only heard the stories or seen the pictures of characters forged from peace, love and Woodstock.

But today, baby boomers are corporate executives, business owners and even grandparents.

And their use of weed is on the rise.

The second-largest increase – at 13% – came from the Gen Xers.

Once clad in thrift store flannels and ripped jeans and decried as slackers, the group has mutated into investors and entrepreneurs.

And Gen Xers now spend an average of $189 per month on marijuana – the highest of any generation. That’s the benefit of disposable income.

That said, millennials still account for 52% of all pot smokers in the country.

No real surprise there…

Not only are millennials the largest generation in the country, but also… they’re the new hippies.

As an investor, all of this is important to know. It can help dictate your investment strategy and crystalize why you’re investing in a particular company.

Let me explain…

Baby boomers are the biggest buyers of topicals, lotions and bath products. These are nonpsychoactive products that use cannabidiol (CBD) to alleviate pain and provide joint relief. Anything that offers the medical benefits of cannabis without the high is something the older generation wants to buy.

Gen Xers, on the other hand, have a sweet tooth. They’re the biggest consumers of edibles, as well as cannabis-infused drops and tinctures. Basically, Gen Xers love anything that doesn’t involve inhaling and can be used to make cannabis cocktails or organic, gluten-free, dairy-free vegan cookies…

Just last year, candy captured 40% of the $669.16 million U.S. edibles market. Chocolate was a distant second at just 21%.

And millennials are all about vaping. We see them standing outside the new rye bar that just opened, ripping fat clouds of Smurf Cake or Kiwi Breeze. So it’s no surprise that this generation has embraced vape pens and vaporizers for marijuana consumption.

All of this is why we saw an important milestone in 2017 – one investors can’t ignore. Ready-to-use products surpassed the sale of dried flower (buds) for the first time ever

This is the most significant trend in the industry.

In states such as Colorado, we saw that when pot was legalized, flower sales plummeted. In fact, from 2014 to 2017, dried flower sales went from 70% to less than half. Meanwhile, edibles sales in Colorado surged 83% last year.

That’s because consumers want low-dose options. They don’t want to get baked and veg out. And sometimes, they don’t even want to get high at all.

The modern marijuana user isn’t a tie-dye-clad hippie toking on a doobie.

They don’t want to roll a joint… Rather, they want to sip on a blueberry lavender lemon Canna Drop, nibble on the corner of a decadent brownie (that wasn’t mixed in a dorm room), or rub Endoca hemp salve on their bruises and sore muscles.

Concentrates are driving the market. Meanwhile, flowers or buds are largely prescribed for just medicinal purposes.

This means that, as an investor, you must look beyond the bong.

Good investing,

Matthew