Show Me 4: Setting The Scene
It might not be your ‘pot’ of tea, but medicinal cannabis use has been legal in the UK since November 2018, and a recent opinion poll from The Independent shows full legalisation may not be far-off.
According to the study conducted by Edelman, 52% of Britons aged 18-44 support the selling of cannabis.
In Europe, ‘The Local’ reports that even the German police are calling for the legalisation of recreational cannabis! A motion backed by 34% of the German public.
Although this might appear small for now, the “USA experiment” has demonstrated that once legislation is actually introduced - and cannabis tax dollars are poured into education etc. - the approval ratings for legislation rating increases. Unsurprisingly, given the amount of tax dollars generated California alone spent $2.75 billion on Cannabis in 2018 (Forbes).
As the economic, social and cultural benefits start to emerge across the Atlantic, it seems likely that heavy-handed legislation will, in turn, submerge across the UK and across Europe. That being said, more general resistance to cannabis is more often linked to misconception. And it will take more than just lifting the ban for the industry to go mainstream.
Years of prohibition has naturally caused cannabis to be associated with gang-related crime. Coupled with health worries, and the mainstream media’s long portrayal of ‘stoner culture’, cannabis brings with it some unattractive stereotypes.
Looking to the future, we have identified 3 Macro Trends that brands - in and out of the cannabis category - must be mindful of when looking to appeal to early adopters, and the more demanding Gen Z and Millennial consumers.
Image by SoulCycle
Image by SoulCycle
Number 1: Spiritual Paradox
Religion has long been on the decline across the Western world.
In 2017, the number of Britons saying they have no religion hit a record high – 53% (Source: The Independent) A recent study by Vice suggests that only 20% of Millennials and Gen Z attend organised religious practises. In fact, religion comes at the very bottom in their list of priorities – with just 24% of them claiming it to be an important part of their lives!
But although religion is not top of mind, spirituality is on the rise. That same Vice study shows that 80% claim to have a sense of spirituality!
With both anxiety and depression rising - and technology taking increasingly more of their free time - Millennials and Gen Z are turning to ancient spirituality and alternative practices to better connect with themselves and each other.
Image by Hi-Fi Hops / Lagunitas Brewing Company
Number 2: Alternative Intoxication
As 1 in 5 young adults turn their back on alcohol altogether, a growing demand for healthier cannabis-infused drinks, able to recreate the enjoyment of alcohol, will undoubtedly occur.
Seedlip founder, Ben Branson, views legalisation in the US as a great opportunity for non-alcoholic drink brands: ‘The legalisation of cannabis is a threat to the alcohol industry, and a huge opportunity for the non-alcoholic category as the paradigm shifts in the way people drink continues to disrupt how and where we socialise. Cannabis cocktail bars anyone?’
According to Business Insider, cannabis-infused drinks could become a $600 million market in the US in the next 4 years, and the revenue from it could outpace the general demand for cannabis products by over two times.
Image by MONQ
Number 3: Augmented Wellness
Wellness has been a booming trend for many years now, but the rules are shifting as Gen Z enters the wellness market place.
While Millennials’ approach to wellbeing was about the balance between physical, mental and spiritual wellness, the Gen Z way is shaping up to be about control. They are proactively hacking environments, diets and regimes to max up gains and stimulate their mind and emotions.
Some brands have already taken notice of Gen Z’s desire to augment health rituals and are creating products to give them full control over their wellbeing.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to do something positive for the world, merging new technology, and ancient knowledge? What if it were possible to merge science and style to allow everyone to discover the benefits of ancient aromatherapy?”
-Eric Fishman, M.D. of MONQ