More People Are Choosing Legal Weed Over Illegal Than Ever Before

Study Finds Cannabis Users Trust Legal Weed More During Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has kept us at home for what has felt like forever. If you’ve been under lockdown, you’ve likely run out of shows to binge, recipes to try, and conversations to have with your roommates.

One thing that never gets old, though, is getting high. Lockdown has given cannabis lovers plenty of time to become further acquainted with their joints, bongs, and pipes. But an interesting statistic shines a light on how the pandemic has affected the cannabis industry.

According to Mitch Baruchowitz, a managing partner at cannabis firm Merida Capital Partners, the legal market has seen a significant amount of success, as many cannabis users have turned from black market weed to legal weed. While black market sales can be less costly, they come with far greater risks to health and safety, Baruch explains:

“The vast majority of the current growth in the cannabis space is being driven by consumers transitioning from the black market to the legal market.”


The black market is still responsible for most cannabis sales. In the United States, the illegal cannabis market is estimated to be four times the size of its legal counterpart. Canada, meanwhile, offers similar statistics, with less than 30 percent of Canadian cannabis users purchasing their cannabis from licensed retailers.

Still, the legal cannabis market has had quite the year, and experts expect it to surpass $15 billion by the end of 2020.

What Does This All Mean?

For starters, cannabis use itself is particularly popular right now. A survey from April found that marijuana use was at an all-time high in April – 33 percent of Americans said that they had used cannabis at least once. Meanwhile, a poll from dispensary Verilife indicated that millennials and baby boomers had consumed roughly 40 percent more cannabis since the beginning of the pandemic. Both generations reported spending $27 dollars more per month on cannabis products than before.

With so many people using cannabis, it’s worth recognizing that so many are turning to legal purchases.

Kris Krane, CEO of multi-state operator 4Front Ventures, explained this trend to Politico:

“It’s understandable that people may be more hesitant to get their products from sources that are unregulated,” he said. “They may not want to go to their dealer’s house, or they may not want to have their dealer come into their house, at a time when people are social distancing and not supposed to be interacting with people that they don’t know.”

As the legal cannabis industry grows, it will be interesting to see if the black market falls apart, or if the legal and illegal sides of the industry tear into each other.