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Californians Prefer Getting Cannabis Legally, Survey Finds

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

February 28, 2024 11:50 am ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Californians Prefer Getting Cannabis Legally, Survey Finds

A recent survey released by the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) discovered that an impressive 86% of Californians prefer relying on legal sources when purchasing cannabis products. The same survey also found that 62% of state residents approve of Proposition 64, the 2016 measure that legalized adult-use cannabis throughout the state. This highlights a growing acceptance of marijuana since legalization was first passed nearly eight years ago.

These surveys are part of the DCC’s “Real California Cannabis” campaign, which aims to educate consumers on the benefits of legal cannabis and how to distinguish between licensed and unlicensed retailers. The DCC wants to foster awareness and understanding among Californians about the advantages of supporting the legal cannabis industry.

The survey polled more than 1,000 respondents for their views on the legal and illegal cannabis markets in the state. Fortunately, Californians are overwhelmingly in favor of using the legal market to obtain cannabis products.

Additionally, the agency’s findings indicate that 56% of Californians have tried cannabis, and 88% of those who have consumed it express a preference for purchasing products from the regulated industry. However, the release notes that 44% of respondents find it easy to identify a licensed retailer, while 42% find it challenging.

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“Education and enforcement are two of the key pillars that support a well-regulated cannabis market,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott. “The Real California Cannabis campaign will provide cannabis consumers with information that empowers them to make informed decisions regarding their cannabis purchases. These smart choices support safer communities, local businesses, and our continuous efforts to disrupt the illegal market.”

The black market in California is an ongoing issue despite widespread marijuana legalization. The persistence of the illicit market is attributed to various factors, including high taxes on legal cannabis products, stringent regulations, and the slow pace of licensing for legal operators. These issues create an environment where unlicensed and illegal sellers can thrive, offering products at lower prices compared to legal dispensaries.

The illegal market for cannabis in California undermines the efforts to establish a well-regulated and safe industry. Unregulated products may lack proper testing for contaminants, potency, and quality, posing potential risks to consumers. Law enforcement faces challenges in cracking down on illicit operations due to the sheer size and complexity of the state’s cannabis market. Additionally, the lower prices on the black market can draw consumers away from legal sources, impacting the revenue generated for public services through legal cannabis sales.

Although the black market in California is still alive and well, it seems that the tide may be turning. As long as Californians are making smart, informed choices about where they purchase cannabis, and thus supporting an expanding legal industry, the legal market should continue to grow at a rapid pace. In doing so, it will help ensure that people have access to quality, tested products they can count on to meet their needs.

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