WSJ Article by Mark Penn on Marijuana Trends

Uptown Stoners

A 2016 survey of marijuana users by the branding consultant Miner & Co. Studio found that more than 80% had full-time jobs, more than 60% had household incomes of at least $75,000 and were married or living with a partner, and more than 40% were parents of children under 18. As smoking marijuana becomes legal in many parts of the country, the grunge that has long surrounded pot culture will be replaced by private clubs, spas, marijuana bars and high-end baked goods. Discriminating consumers with money will look for new ways to cut loose safely.

The weed industry is just in its infancy, about $7.2 billion in annual revenue in the U.S. as compared to over $200 billion for the liquor industry, but it is growing at 17% a year, according to the analytics firm New Frontier Data. The growth is largely fueled by a surge in recreational use, which increased by an astounding 184% just from 2014 to 2015.

The biggest profits will come from the top-earning 25% of consumers, who will increasingly seek luxury drug experiences. In Las Vegas, where recreational use became legal last July, limousine companies are offering “cannabis tours” complete with pickup from the airport. High-style products are already popping up, such as Beboe’s $25 tins of low-potency marijuana-infused pastilles, available in California dispensaries.

Arrests for marijuana purchase have dropped significantly, though Attorney General Jeff Sessions has injected new uncertainty by revoking the Obama’s administration’s no-prosecute policy in states that have legalized. Nationally, 64% of Americans are now in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, according to an October Gallup poll, about double the support in 2000. The trend, and the taxes and profits that follow, appear to have unstoppable momentum