Decoding the marijuana-fast food connection

Oct 02 2017

Decoding the marijuana-fast food connection

A revolutionary new study has found that those who use legalized marijuana also like fast food.

It’s a breakthrough on par with the moon landing, cracking the sound barrier, and finding the cure for polio. Oh, what a modern age we live in.

A real life study was conducted by Green Market Report, in conjunction with Consumer Research Around Cannabis, and looked to examine the fast food preferences of those who use legal marijuana. Shockingly, the most popular fast food chains were found to be the most visited.

Of those surveyed, around 43 Percent said they prefer McDonald’s as their top fast food destination. Taco Bell came in second, with 18.3 percent, and Wendy’s, Burger King, and Subway rounded out the top five. But apparently the McDonald’s win is more about volume than it is anything else.

“McDonald’s wins by virtue of the sheer number of locations – by default really,” said Jeff Stein, Vice President of Consumer Research Around Cannabis in a blog post. “Those competitors which better understanding cannabis users and their consumer habits can certainly close the gap by integrating what they learn through their marketing efforts.”

While this study generally falls into the “tell me something I DON’T know” category, there are actually some small (chicken) nuggets of information worth noting.

The study was conducted as part of Green Market Report’s “Cannabis Freakonomics,” a “series of research market snapshots” aimed at the legal marijuana industry, Researchers surveyed people in the top markets where marijuana is sold from dispensaries, places like Colorado, California, and Washington, D.C., with a base population of 55 million people. Of that population, researchers found 4.7 million people use marijuana legally, or about 8.5 percent.

Although not exactly a new revelation, it’s important to recognize what a sizeable percentage of people engage in marijuana use. The study confirms that millions of Americans use marijuana regularly, and lends credence to legalization and decriminalization efforts. While the relationship to fast food is fairly obvious, if not flippant, the study does bring up an aspect of the marijuana debate that goes largely overlooked: marijuana users make up a sizable consumer market.

The economic considerations of marijuana use (not to mention the tax revenue that can be generated from legalization) are substantial and need to be taken seriously. Major corporations surely have marketing plans at the ready, and are simply waiting for the day they can market toward marijuana users en bloc. But until then, it’s worth their while to court marijuana users simply because of the buying power associated with such a large number of people. As more states move towards legalization and decriminalization, they bring a large consumer base out of the dark and into full view for marketing professionals to analyze and assess for potential profitability.

The marijuana counterculture may not be excited to embrace corporate America, but it would behoove companies to extend the marijuana branch and see if they can access a growing marketplace.