The data are in and they are very EXCITING! The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment keeps statistics on the age and gender of licensed medical marijuana patients in Colorado and they just released their report. Becky Olson reported on the data for Marijuana Business Daily’s “Chart of the Week” on June 6th (link below) and the results are unambiguous. Women are a growing part of the Medical Marijuana Market here.
Never have women made up a higher percentage of Colorado medical patients, from 28.5% in 2009 and 2010 up to 35% (and growing) in 2015. Also, the average age of female medical patients has risen to 45.
So what does all this mean for an aspiring marijuana business? It could mean re-thinking your entire marketing concept. Traditionally, marijuana has been marketed to youthful males mainly because of the associated risk and risk seekers tend to be young men. But the times, oh, they are a-changin’.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor and other data gathered by TheNextWeb.com women make up to 80% of family healthcare decisions and account for 85% of all consumer spending in the USA. That’s about 7 trillion dollars per year. Nothing to sneeze at but somehow, the image of women is still being sneezed at in marijuana advertising.
You don’t have to look long and hard at marijuana magazine advertisements in Colorado to find what I call the “Boobs and Bongs” marketing concept. More Boobs + More Bongs = Effective Marketing only if you’re aiming below the belt of young men. It’s high time for the industry to aim higher, above the shoulders of middle-aged women. Objectifying women’s bodies in your advertisements might be the worst thing you could do if you want a slice of that 7 trillion dollar pie.
Some are getting wise to the movement and not just on the consumer side. Founded in Denver, 2014 Women Grow (#WomenGrow) was created to connect, inspire, educate and empower women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry. Mother’s High Tea is a Denver biennial event celebrating women in Cannabis. And many influential cannabis companies, including Clover Leaf University and Julie’s Natural Edibles, were founded and are led by executive businesswomen.
Some companies have already started actively marketing to health-conscious women by abolishing boobs and bongs in their advertising and highlighting their product’s therapeutic benefits or their dispensary’s safety and upscale environment. Others would be wise to follow their example.