As Country Rebounds from COVID, the Cannabis Industry Is Poised For Growth, New Green Horizons Study Finds

NEW ROCHELLE, November 1st, 2021– The trend towards legalization of cannabis in the U.S. combined with the COVID-19 pandemic is driving cannabis adoption, according to a recent Green Horizons study. The study, fielded in August 2021 with Green Horizons field partner, Paradigm, found that the incidence of weekly use of cannabis among U.S. adults increased from 28% self-reported in 2019 to 39% in 2021.

COVID created a “perfect storm” of opportunity for the burgeoning industry. Since 2019, five states (Arizona, Illinois, Montana, New Jersey, and New York) have legalized recreational cannabis, and 2 states that were completely illegal in 2019 (South Dakota and Virginia) are now legal medically and recreationally (MJ Biz Daily). Cannabis is now medically legal in 37 states and D.C., while recreational cannabis is legal in 18 states and Washington D.C. Across many states, cannabis dispensaries were deemed “essential businesses” during the COVID lockdown. Increased access to legal cannabis products coincided with COVID-induced stress and anxiety; a Pew Research study from March of 2021 found that roughly one in five U.S. adults (21%) were experiencing high levels of psychological distress caused by the pandemic. The new Green Horizons study found that 42% of cannabis consumers consumed more cannabis during COVID, while only 10% said they consumed less. As the country slowly rebounds from the pandemic, 63% of users expect to continue to use cannabis as much as they did throughout the pandemic.

The mental health implications of the pandemic are reflected in the findings from the Green Horizons study. According to the study, 37% of cannabis consumers are recreational-only users and 19% are medical-only users, while 44% are both medical and recreational users. Although these segments have somewhat different behavioral and usage profiles, both medical and recreational users report that mental health concerns (including depression, anxiety, and PTSD) are top reasons for using cannabis. Almost seven in ten (68%) recreational cannabis users report using cannabis to help with general stress and anxiety. Pain management (49%) and social anxiety (44%) are other top reasons for consuming recreationally. Among medical-only users, 82% use cannabis for psychological issues such as anxiety and depression while 51% consume cannabis for pain management.

The study also finds that with more options beyond smoking flower becoming available from dispensaries in legal states, consumers are adopting a wide range of cannabis products. Smoking remains the top method for consumers (64%), and over one in four cannabis users vape or consume edibles regularly. Moreover, one in ten use infused beverages, topicals/transdermals, and tinctures regularly. There are differences between medical and recreational users; for example, recreational-only users are more likely to use vapes (32%) than Medical-only users (15%).

“It’s an exciting time in the cannabis space and for cannabis-adjacent industries. Legalization is helping bring cannabis out of the shadows of counterculture and into the mainstream, and ease of access to dispensaries with a wide variety of cannabis and CBD products is bringing new users to the category. Qualitatively, we are seeing consumers who never used cannabis before adopting products like gummies and infused beverages into their regular lifestyles” notes Adriana Waterston, Green Horizons’ Chief Revenue Officer and Insights & Strategy Lead. “With cannabis now in the mainstream, our research finds a great deal of interest in everything from infused wines and liquors to cannabis tourism and other social activities” Waterston adds.

Green Horizons will be hosting a free webinar featuring some of the key findings from Cultivating the Cannabis Market: Waves I and II on November 17th at 2pm ET. Sign up for the webinar here.


Cultivating the Cannabis Market: Wave II, covers a wide range of topics related to recreational and medical cannabis use, as well as attitudes towards legalization and the use of psilocybin. The study will be released in November and is available for purchase. Please contact Sally Schachat at for more information.

About Green Horizons

Green Horizons, a division of Horowitz Research, is a full-service market research and consulting firm that offers primary qualitative and quantitative consumer research for the cannabis and holistic health industries, including studies to measure market potential for new cannabis and CBD products and services; studies to help inform strategies for product packaging, positioning, and marketing of cannabis and CBD products; brand health studies for cannabis brands; and studies on the shifting culture of cannabis in the U.S.. For more information about Green Horizons’ research services including Cultivating the Cannabis Market: Wave II, please contact Adriana Waterston at

Budding Insights: How Covid-19 Has Changed the Cannabis Landscape

In Green Horizons’ benchmark study, Cultivating the Cannabis Market (October 2019), four in ten (39%) U.S. adults 18+ reported using cannabis, with 28% saying they typically use it at least weekly. With COVID-19 having an impact on every aspect of Americans’ lives, we wanted to understand how the pandemic is changing usage.

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How has Covid-19 Changed the Cannabis Landscape?

As cannabis usage shifts, Green Horizons can help you stay on top of what consumers need and want from their cannabis products.

Six Reasons Your Cannabis Strategy Should Lead with LGBTQ+ Insights

Pride Month 2020 may be coming to an end, but for the emerging legal cannabis industry, the opportunities to reach and connect with LGBTQ+ consumers are just beginning.

The bond between the LGBTQ+ community and the cannabis industry stretches back to the beginning days of the legalization movement. Spurred by marijuana’s ability to treat the devastating symptoms of AIDS and side effects from aggressive medications, San Francisco LGBTQ+ activists spearheaded many of the earliest fights to decriminalize marijuana with help from the likes of Gilbert Baker, creator of the Rainbow Flag, and Cleve Jones, founder of The Names Project. In 1996, Dennis Peron helped write California Proposition 215, which became the first statewide approval of medical marijuana.

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“Cannabis legalization was really sparked by the LGBTQIA community, and so I’ve felt a responsibility to continue providing representation as I’ve built my business. As a femme-presenting lesbian, it is critical for me to be visible as such so that others can see they also have a place in the industry,” said Andrea Brooks, founder & CEO of Sava.

The intertwined history of cannabis legalization and the LGBTQ+ community suggests a huge opportunity for the cannabis industry. Green Horizons, a consumer insights firm focused on research for the cannabis and holistic health industries, and SPI Marketing, a leading LGBTQ+ marketing agency, predict that LGBTQ+ consumers will be a major force in the continued growth of the legal cannabis industry.

Six Reasons Why the Cannabis Industry Should Prioritize the LGBTQ+ Opportunity:

1) Already, LGBTQ+ consumer over-index on using cannabis. According to Green Horizon’s Cultivating the Cannabis Market report, 28% of U.S. adults 18+ report using cannabis weekly, compared to 43% of LGBTQ+ consumers.

2) Like cannabis users overall, LGBTQ+ cannabis users are gravitating towards dispensaries: 6 in 10 (58%) buy their cannabis at a dispensary, compared to 34% who buy through an individual dealer.

3) Younger consumers are a core target for cannabis, with half (47%) of 18-34 year-olds reporting ever using cannabis, compared to 22% among 50+. Younger Americans are also more likely to identify as LGBTQ+ in the survey (13%, vs 7% of those 35+), creating a perfect storm of opportunity for the burgeoning industry.

4) The LGBTQ community are high velocity consumers with both enthusiasm and opinions, therefore also making them influential. In the emerging and cluttered landscape of cannabis brands, the LGBTQ+ community offers companies a targeted and highly social brand platform to build brand recognition and demand.

5) LGBTQ+ consumers are increasingly demanding authenticity, especially the Gen Z and millennial segments. Attention to detail and inclusion of both community and trade are essential in building a smart, sustainable approach to this consumer, and brands that do it well will be rewarded.

6) Prioritizing the LGBTQ+ market has proven hugely effective for other industries. For example, in the spirits industry, Absolut jumped into the LGBTQ+ market around 1981 because they saw they had a visible customer base in gay bars, and they understood and recognized the potential. The reward for being the first brand in the market was authenticity and a massive lead in brand recognition.

With cannabis legalization happening state-by-state, cannabis marketing must adopt targeted, market-specific approaches—and many of the markets where cannabis is legal have large and culturally influential LGBTQ+ and other diverse communities. Gaining insights into this community and turning those insights into curated local and online strategies, influencers, and sponsorship activations, not just during Pride but throughout the year at LGBTQ+ events, offer tremendous opportunity to emerging cannabis brands to connect with this eager and highly valuable consumer segment. With the right strategy, LGBTQ+ influencers can become cannabis’ most impactful brand advocates, driving awareness and market share.

“As a lesbian who has consistently operated in industries dominated by straight white men, I view the LGBTQIA community not only as customers but, more importantly, fellow warriors and as family,” said Tracey Mason, CEO of House of Saka infused beverages. “The culture of inclusion and respect we’ve nurtured at House of Saka has been shaped and, indeed, afforded by the rights that the LGBTQIA community has so valiantly fought for and we are grateful. Every day.”

To learn more about Green Horizons’ research for the cannabis industry, click here.

To learn more about SPI Marketing’s work among LGBTQ+ consumers, click here.

Adriana Waterston, SVP, Insights & Strategy, Green Horizons
Scott Seitz, CEO, SPI Marketing

Budding Insights: Cannabis Usage vs. Arrest Rates

This is the first installment of Budding Insights, our monthly insights about cannabis.

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The 2020 analysis from the ACLU finds that while arrests for marijuana possession have gone down since 2010, they still made up 43% of all drug arrests in 2018. In every state, including those where marijuana has been legalized, Blacks are more likely to be arrested for possession. The severity of this racial disparity varies by state, ranging from 1.5 at the lowest end in Colorado to more than 7x in Iowa, West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, and Montana.

As a country, we are finally engaged in a national conversation about institutionalized racism in law enforcement. It is important to understand that that the issues we are confronting today stem from deeply ingrained racialized criminal justice policies that leads to the disproportionate criminalization of Blacks and other people of color.

Green Horizons Research Shows Desire For Psychedelics Market is Strong

Since Denver became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms just shy of a year ago, the movement to decriminalize psychedelics has been sweeping the nation. According to research from Green Horizons, a boutique consumer insights firm focused on the cannabis and holistic health industry, four in ten (38%) U.S. adults feel that psilocybin mushrooms, also known as “magic mushrooms,” should be legal under at least some circumstances: 25% believe they should be legal under limited circumstances, such as medical or religious reasons, and 13% believe they should be legal under all circumstances.

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Support for legalization varies by age: among 18-34 year-olds, 45% believe psilocybin mushrooms should be legal under at least some circumstances; among 35-49 year-olds, 40%; and among 50+, just 23%. Support for legalization is also closely correlated with how much adults know about psychedelics. Seven in ten (71%) 18-34 year-olds say that they know a little or a lot about psychedelics; this drops to 59% among 35-49 year-olds and 49% among 50+.

As the science of psychedelics gains more mainstream coverage, such as in Michael Pollan’s 2018 book How to Change Your Mind, psychedelics’ reputation is changing. This evolving reputation is likely influencing support for legalization. According to the study, 27% of U.S. adults feel that psychedelics, when used in moderation, are less dangerous than other legal substances, like alcohol and tobacco. Three in ten (29%) believe that psychedelics can be beneficial for a wide variety of mental health and physical issues, including treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.


Among those who say they have at least some knowledge of psychedelics, 43% feel that psychedelics can be less dangerous than other legal substances and nearly half (47%) believe psychedelics can be a beneficial medical treatment. Furthermore, among those who say they have some knowledge of psychedelics, support for legalization of psilocybin mushrooms rises to 53% (35% under limited circumstances; 18% under all circumstances).

“When it comes to psychedelics, there are many parallels with the movement to legalize cannabis. In both cases, education is paramount,” said Adriana Waterston, Green Horizon’s SVP of Insights and Strategy. “Psychedelics, like cannabis, have been tied to a negative, highly stigmatized image for many years. Science, however, is showing us that psychedelics demonstrate tremendous promise for certain chronic psychological illnesses, even those that have been treatment-resistant. As we continue to study psychedelics and evidence for their benefits mount, we can expect support for legalization to follow.”


1,000 nationally representative online surveys among U.S. adults 18+ fielded in October 2019. 


For Research & Services, Contact: Meredith Falvo Client Services
For Press Inquiries, Contact: Stephanie Wong Director, Insights & Strategy

Horowitz Research Launches “Green Horizons,” A Consumer Insights Firm for the Cannabis and Holistic Health Industry

Horowitz Research is excited to announce the launch of Green Horizons, a research consultancy dedicated to delivering consumer insights for the rapidly growing cannabis and holistic health industries. With one in four Americans living in a state where recreational cannabis is legal, and support for widespread legalization growing, the cannabis market is poised for tremendous growth.

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“Our goal at Green Horizons is to bring the consumer perspective to this emerging market. There have been countless innovations in the cannabis space and product quality has dramatically improved since the early days,” says Adriana Waterston, Green Horizon’s SVP of Insights and Strategy.

“But cannabis has been underground for so long that developing a brand in this marketplace requires more than just a great product. Many cannabis users and potential users have little understanding of what sets one product apart from another. We hope to help brands better understand the consumers they serve to develop standout products, brands, and experiences. Through increased education, we hope also to help break through stereotypes about cannabis users and increase widespread acceptance.”

Green Horizons has released its first free e-book, Cultivating the Cannabis Market, which offers a high-level overview of findings from the more detailed report available for purchase. The e-book includes information on the cannabis market in the United States, profiles types of cannabis users, brand awareness, and brand drivers for visiting specific dispensaries.

A few key findings include:

  • Cannabis users are more—not less—active and health conscious. Despite the “lazy stoner” stereotype, cannabis users are more likely to report that exercising and staying in physical shape play a big role in their life. They are also more likely to report incorporating natural or organic foods into their diet;
  • While accurate dosing is, unsurprisingly, the top “must-have” for edibles, three in 10 edibles consumers consider organic ingredients a must-have. About one in five are also looking for non-GMO, sugar-free, and gluten-free options;
  • 44% of cannabis users, who live in a state where cannabis is not legal, say they buy cannabis from a dispensary in another state;
  • Across 20 brands tested, only three—Leafs by Snoop, Cheeba Chews, and Marley Natural—are known by more than one in five cannabis users. A third of cannabis users reported having never heard of any of the brands tested, highlighting the enormous opportunity for brand growth in the cannabis industry.


For Research & Services, Contact:

Meredith Falvo
Client Services

For Press Inquiries, Contact:

Stephanie Wong
Director, Insights & Strategy