Some Helpful Colorado Cannabis Consumer Insights

Colorado Amendment 64, passed just shy of a decade ago in November 2012, legalized recreational cannabis use in the Centennial State and paved the way for retail sales and market growth. Although California legalized medical cannabis many years earlier (1996), Colorado (along with Washington state) was one of the first states to legalize the drug for recreational use.

Since that time, the statewide cannabis market has blossomed and continues to grow, and many other states have followed suit. Colorado is still seen as a beacon of the movement to legalize recreational cannabis products, and its politically friendly atmosphere has attracted users, investors, and dispensaries.

But the keys to success in Colorado’s cannabis industry, as in so many others, lie in the precinct of effective, practical decision making, and without information, that’s an impossibility.

Let’s take a look at some helpful Colorado cannabis consumer insights.

Market Sizing

The market for legal cannabis in Colorado is one of the biggest in the nation. In 2021, the total industry for cannabis in Colorado cumulatively surpassed $10 billion in sales since the program began officially in 2014.

Through 2020, annual sales increased 25% from 2019. Whether this was due to pandemic-fueled isolation or simply growing, widespread acceptance, at the moment, is anyone’s guess. All the same, the figures don’t lie. 2021 has also been a record year.

When comparing retail (recreational adult-use cannabis) alongside the medical marijuana industries in the state, retail sales are, on average, larger. Per location, in 2019, retail sales were on average just shy of about $2.5 million, whereas medical channels sold on average just over $750,000.

As of 2020, Colorado has more than 400 cultivators. At the outset of 2020, Colorado had 438 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and 572 licensed cannabis retailers. The latter figure is and has been growing consistently. By the end of 2020, there were over 590.

As for the number of users, that figure would appear to be fairly lucrative as well. Estimates of the number of recreational and medical users are both high and growing. By 2021, the state had over 85,000 users of medical marijuana. The estimated size of the recreational, adult-use markets are between 550,000 and 650,000, but of course, that number could be larger in actuality.


  • Cannabis sales are growing in Colorado every year.
  • Colorado is consistently adding cannabis retail licenses.
  • Cannabis consumption (both medical and recreational) is rising, but growth among recreational users is stronger.

Market Demographics

Without performing a custom, targeted study of your local cannabis demographics, we can only offer national figures and splice them into what we already know about Colorado cannabis consumer insights.

Nationwide, there are both male and female consumers of cannabis products. Currently, around 60% of sales go to male users, but that trend is decreasing as more and more women officially begin participating in legal cannabis markets.

You might not expect it, but education appears to be correlated to cannabis usage. Those with college degrees or even associate’s degrees are more likely to purchase recreational cannabis than those with only a high school diploma.

Both employed and unemployed consumers exhibit demand for cannabis products. Nearly a third of unemployed consumers are users of marijuana.

Nationally, by far, the largest cohort of cannabis users are millennials. Estimates place the national recreational figures for millennials at anywhere up to 50% of the market. The next largest cohort is Gen X, at about 25%. Together, these two demographics constitute about 75% of the market for cannabis users. Interestingly, the next largest cohort is baby boomers – at around 15%.

Purchasing Habits

Colorado consumer insights regarding purchasing habits are also valuable. Knowing what to sell to your customers can be the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity. For these purposes, we’re going to defer to information gathered in 2019 and earlier.

In 2019, flower constituted 44% of cannabis sales in Colorado. It held a majority over concentrates (31%), while edibles consisted of 15% of sales. The remainder of sales in Colorado consisted of pre-rolls and other goods.

Let’s contrast this with data from 2018, which estimates flower sales at 45%, concentrate sales at 33%, and edibles at 6%. It looks like there’s little change.

However, taking a step back in time to 2015 paints a clearer picture. In that year, flower constituted 65% of cannabis sales in Colorado, with 15% allocated to concentrates and 12% to edibles.

Flower sales, as a percentage of the total, have shrunk consistently over the years, losing ground to concentrates. Preference for edibles has grown consistently, albeit very slowly.

However, this is not at all to suggest that the market for flower is dwindling and that the future lies with concentrates. Since sales overall have grown considerably, the volume in reach category has also grown in kind. It simply means that if there was doubt regarding the future of concentrate sales, the figures tell a clear story.

Colorado Cannabis Consumer Insights: Projections

No one can say with any authority what exactly the future holds, but if the past is any presage, cannabis sales in Colorado will continue to flourish, even allowing for proliferation into additional product categories like cannabis drinks and the like.

According to Statista, Colorada cannabis sales in 2022 are expected to meet or exceed 2.5 billion dollars. That is a significant increase from 2021, which in turn exhibited strong growth from 2020, and when compared alongside 2019.

For entrepreneurs that are interested in investing in the cannabis market in Colorado – and even for retail locations looking to extract more value from their investments, Colorado cannabis consumer insights can help.

Revamp Business with Custom Colorado Cannabis Consumer Insights

Raw figures like the ones presented in this article only give a sense of where the cannabis market in Colorado is likely to go. They paint a positive picture of growth and buying habits, but they don’t answer the granular, targeted questions that business owners need to answer in order to secure the greatest success.

Questions associated with local buyers in your target market, what their purchasing habits are, how they like to pay, or what products might merit testing and development, all can’t be answered by vague national statistics.

These are the kinds of questions that can only be answered by purpose-driven, customized Colorado cannabis consumer insights – and we are ready to partner with you to help you drive business.

Get in touch with us today at 818-989-1044 or at to learn more about how our customized research surveys and other data-collection services can help you gain actionable insights for your cannabis business.

The Brand Builder’s Blueprint

Segmentation Analysis

6 Consumer Personas Shaping the Future of Cannabis

Our segmentation analysis of the U.S. cannabis market combines attitudinal, demographic, psychographic and occasion-based insights based on first-hand feedback from a universe of consumer experiences and backgrounds. These results offer a foundational framework for brands and retailers to uncover opportunities in the market, inform product development, build effective marketing strategies, and ultimately create more customer-centric businesses.


There is more than just one type of cannabis consumer. Building a product for “everyone” is no longer possible in the new era of cannabis.

To understand a myriad of perspectives and experiences, we interviewed consumers from across the cannabis eco-system, from the occasional topical CBD user to the daily consumer who views THC as a way to enhance life’s everyday experiences.

everyday enhancers

“Everything in life is a little better with weed: chores, sex, art. You name it, cannabis makes it better.”

escape artists

“I can’t wait for the end of a long day on the jobsite when I can kick my feet up on the recliner and spark up a bowl to unwind and relax.”

trendy tokers

“It’s important for me to be up on the latest trends…”

self-care seekers

“To live a healthy lifestyle, you have to care about what you are putting into your body and how you connect to the Earth.”

practical partakers

“I’m looking forward to some ‘me’ time.”

mature medicators

“Try anything once and if it works, try it again.”


Medical and recreational, acceptors and rejectors – these designations only scratch the surface. Going beyond behaviors and opinions, we examined consumers’ underlying needs, values and experiences including their comfortability shopping in dispensaries, historical relationship with authority and the law, and whether they seek cannabis for additive benefits (to enhance an experience) or subtractive (pain relief or stress relief). Additionally, we recognize that the binary categorization of consumers as either medical or recreational overlooks a critical segment of the market – wellness consumers who are seeking the health benefits of cannabis, but not necessarily to treat a diagnosed medical condition.

Here are just a few of the inputs we considered when designing this engagement.

Usage Occasions


Subtractive or Additive
Benefits Sought

Relationship with
the Law

Previous Experiences
with Cannabis

Solitary vs. Social
Consumption Habits

Comfortability Shopping
for Cannabis

alignment chart

Click on the arrow to browse.

You may think you know your customers,

but what the data reveals may surprise you.

Our experts are ready to walk you through these findings and what they mean for your brand or category. We’ll tell you how you can develop your own custom personas, based on the habits, preferences, and lifestyle of your target audience.


We are known for providing quick turn, high impact, custom research solutions. Built upon a multi-decade history of accessing niche populations, ISA has developed products specifically designed to serve the cannabis industry including The CANNApinion Poll, a bi-monthly survey of 1000 US cannabis consumers. ISA was the first research firm to launch a cannabis-specific research community, The Green Time, providing brands with reliable and targeted access to cannabis consumers.

Presented in Partnership

This initiative was born out of a strategic partnership between ISA and ISA’s parent company – Material. ISA tapped into their proprietary panel of cannabis consumers, The Green Time, to survey the participants. Hilary DeCamp, Material’s Chief Research Officer, led the team that conducted this segmentation analysis.


Hilary DeCamp
Chief Research Officer, Material

A renowned expert on segmentation research, Hilary trains, guides and inspires hundreds of Material business strategists to execute top-notch research in a rapidly changing world of evolving marketing and measurement methods. She is passionate about collaborating with brilliant people (inside and outside her company) to solve many challenging problems in a wide variety of different industries while always keeping her “marketer” hat on.

An industry veteran, Hilary has spent over half of her life designing primary research solutions to meet the unique needs of clients. Most of her career has been in business-oriented Marketing Science teams applying sophisticated (or sometimes simple) methodological and statistical tools to maximize the learning gleaned from consumers. Her primary focus has been market segmentation and brand strategy, plus general
problem solving.

Can a Cannabis Market Research Company in California Guide Strategy?

The national cannabis market is on the upswing, and in recent years several states have passed legislation decriminalizing marijuana possession or usage, or even legalizing it outright. What started with cautious legislation enabling doctors to prescribe medical marijuana has cascaded into overwhelming consumer applause that continues to grow in tenor.

Let’s take a close look at some statistics governing the greater market in the country.

According to some demographic analyses, 48% and 17% of recreational sales of cannabis products went to millennial and Gen Z users, respectively. How about in terms of national support? Apparently, in 2019, over 68% of participants polled were in support of cannabis legalization. That is an overwhelming majority, and it only promises to grow.

What about total users as a percentage of the current population? That’s estimated to hover somewhere around 12% of the current population. Apparently, slightly more men are current users, than women, but in the past three years, reported usage among female consumers has grown, leveling out at around 48% of users, splitting the market nearly 50-50.

These figures break up the market into actionable cohorts, but what about the promise of growth? What are estimates for legal cannabis sales in the United States?

Well, of course, figures will vary according to your source, but according to some figures, legal growth has been surprisingly high, no pun intended. You wouldn’t expect such overwhelming support from most consumers in the country without a corresponding increase in growth. According to some figures, cannabis sales through 2020 grew explosively. Whether fueled by the pandemic, stay-at-home orders, or ballooning public approval, 2020 cannabis sales grew by 60% – 67%, to be exact.

In 2020, the estimated value of the cannabis market was about 18 billion dollars USD – and it was and has been growing.

Now, how about consumer purchasing habits? What should we take a look at – frequency of use? Willingness to spend or budgetary considerations? Type of consumption method preferred? How about something else less predictable?

You’ll recall that many businesses were shut down during most of 2020. You may also remember – perhaps firsthand – that many people were forced to work from home or even, unfortunately, lost their jobs.

What else happened to cannabis consumer behavior during 2020, in addition to the fact that usage increased?

Well, buying habits shifted in a way that reflected similar changes in the greater market. Namely, consumers started relying on cannabis delivery services. Specifically, demand for cannabis delivery services inclined sharply. According to some figures, customer participation in cannabis delivery programs jumped by more than 50%.

That paints a picture for markets in which there were sellers that offered those services. Imagine what would have happened if all cannabis vendors offered those services? Likely, participation would have increased even further.

That being the case, not every vendor serves the same market – and since laws vary considerably from state to state, and since marijuana is still federally illegal, these national statistics might be of particular interest to most sellers operating from a specific state – which begs the question:

But What about Your Corner of the Industry?

The purpose of cannabis market research, specifically cannabis consumer statistics in California, is to learn as much as possible about your target customers. If you operate a cannabis dispensary, for example, in California, what consumers in Colorado or New York prefer may not matter too much to you. That solidarity might leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling, but in terms of actionable insights, there may not be much they can offer you.

This is why there is so much value in precision targeting and performing the right research, seeking the right answers – in the right places. Let’s consider some quick facts about the market for cannabis products in Califonia.

Cannabis Consumer Stats and Facts – California

  • In 2017, cannabis sales in California accounted for 34% of legal sales in the United States.
  • In 2020, California’s cannabis retail sales totaled around 4.4 billion dollars, up 50% from 2019.
  • This figure accounted for 27% of all legal sales in the U.S.
  • The cannabis market in California is expected to reach or exceed 5 billion dollars by 2022.
  • California is the single largest legal market for cannabis products in the United States.
  • According to some studies, around 20% of adults in California used cannabis recreationally in 2019, up from around 13% in 2011.

So does this mean it would be lucrative for you to invest in or open a dispensary in California? Are you currently employed by a dispensary and tasked with strategic growth?

The short answer is a resounding “possibly.”

Though the figures above are compelling in their own right, they are too raw to put to use for the purposes of devising strategic marketing positioning or making decisions about product research and development.

They just don’t paint a close enough picture about your own target consumers, perhaps because general statistics simply can’t do so. In order for you to effectively market your cannabis products, you need first to define your target audience, before a cannabis market research company in California can help you answer some of the following questions:

  • How often do my target users use cannabis products?
  • What types of cannabis products do they prefer to use?
  • Are there any opportunities for marketing or developing new cannabis products? (Such as edibles, drinks, tinctures, etc.)
  • What type of discretionary spending is my target market comfortable with?
  • Do I need to start providing delivery services?
  • Are there any seasonal trends I need to observe?
  • Are there any product lines I should stop supporting or continuing?
  • And many other similar questions.

If you’re looking for help making strategic decisions from a cannabis market research company in California, ISA Group can help. We offer a number of unique research products, including our bi-weekly CANNApinion surveys that can lend you tailored market insights to guide your strategic decision-making process.

Need a Cannabis Market Research Company in California?

You can’t answer questions until you ask them. Give us a call at 818-989-1044 or email us at if you have any questions about how we can help you tailor your marketing strategy with custom insights.