This Mother's Day, forget the roses. Get your mom some psychoactive flowers instead.

Cannabis retailers and products manufacturers in states like California, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have found that while senior citizens are the fastest-growing demographic, data suggests women with children at home are a fast-growing segment.

Linda Gilbert, the managing director of consumer insights division at data firm BDS Analytics, says that the majority of recent adopters in states where recreational marijuana is legal are women between 25 and 44 years old.  

"It might be surprising, but we're seeing a growing number of moms, especially with kids under 10 at home, using cannabis products," says Gilbert. The most popular types of products are low-dose edibles, vape pens, or tinctures, she says.

In a focus group composed of 4,000 people in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, BDS found that 28 percent of moms in the group said they consumed marijuana in the last six months, compared to 27 percent in 2017. In the same study, 36 percent of moms said they are "accepting" of marijuana use, up from 32 percent in 2017.

"In our focus groups, moms are telling us: 'Marijuana is medicine for me,'" says Gilbert. "They see cannabis as part of their health and wellness personal care regime. They say it's not for partying."

Gilbert says most moms who use cannabis report they are microdosing, which means they are taking smaller doses to take the edge off or help to manage pain instead of larger doses to get stoned.

"Women in general, and mothers in particular, prefer to microdose to help them relax, not to get high," she says. "This trend is growing among most users, but for women they are using it for pain relief and stress relief. They tell us they find it a safer option than a pain reliever."

April 20th, known as the industry holiday "4/20", is the biggest sales day of the year for dispensaries. That said, BDS has found that sales are increasing around Mother's Day.

"It's a growing shopping day," says Gilbert. "Dispensaries are getting smarter at who their target consumer is and they are holding promotions and throwing special events for women specifically."

Joanne Madrid, who is the marketing and promotions manager at Colorado dispensary chain Lightshade and has three kids (all of whom are adults at this point), says cannabis has acted as her mother's little helper. "It helps me to be more patient, be more creative and open-minded with your kids," says Madrid.

While Madrid works for a well-known marijuana dispensary chain, her outlook is not unique, according to data. Another study by Miner & Co. involving 800 women in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, revealed that about 76 percent of the moms with kids under the age of 17 they interviewed use cannabis to relax after a long day, and 74 percent consume cannabis to "stay sane." Over 80 percent say they prefer cannabis over alcohol and pharmaceutical medication.

Michael Ray, the founder of vape pen manufacturer Bloom Farms in California, says mothers have become an emerging segment of his customers after recreational sales launched this year. For Mother's Day, Bloom has partnered with cannabis delivery app Eaze to sell their rose gold vape pens for a 30 percent discount.

"Women control a significant chunk of the consumer packaged goods spending in the household, and historically that demographic has been ignored and alienated by the industry's [male-focused] marketing," says Ray. "Women are going to be a big part of the consumer base for the industry. Ignoring that is suicide." 

Chris Walsh, the founding editor and vice president of Marijuana Business Daily, says about seven years ago most cannabis companies were marketing to men only. But in the past couple of years most brands realized that they were only speaking to a segment of their consumer base.

"Beer ads are a good example of how the industry used to look. Coors and Bud commercials show guys partying at a bar or beach. But quickly, the marijuana industry realized this is not representative of who the consumers are," says Walsh.

Walsh predicts that as more states pass their own marijuana regulations, more women will partake. "The soccer mom crowd is increasingly using cannabis--they are professionals, they have families, and they are using cannabis instead of, or with alcohol," says Walsh.

Published on: May 11, 2018