This week marketing and media publication, AdAge, took a look at how Generation Z is going to be a critical demographic for the cannabis industry as the sector continues to grow. They argue that, unlike Generation X or Baby Boomers, Generation Z has grown up at a time where cannabis has been moving towards acceptance medicinally, socially, and legally. They note that this trend began "with California voting to legalize medical use in 1996—a year before even the oldest Gen Z consumers were born."
The relevance of this time frame is pointed out by Anna Duckworth, co-founder and chief content officer of Miss Grass, who stated that “They’re growing up in a world where cannabis is completely normal." This reality makes cannabis' potential as a growth industry even larger than some may think. Last year's legal sales surpassed $10 billion and are likely to grow significantly as Generation Z, a demographic twice as likely as the average American to use cannabis, turns 21 in places where cannabis is legal.
One major industry concern is likely to be that Generation Z cannabis users will have been using cannabis illegally until their 21st birthdays. Getting them to suddenly choose legal options - which are likely to be more expensive - could be an uphill battle. One way that the legal industry will be able to influence them to choose regulated and legal products will be by establishing programs which allow for transparency and safety to become a selling point for the industry.