As legalization spreads, marijuana consumer preferences are shifting. Two correlating trends are the growing popularity of vaporizers and a dip in flower demand.
For decades, if you wanted to use cannabis — even in states where it was legal — you had few options but to roll a joint and smoke it. As California cannabis delivery service Eaze and other pot startups have discovered, however, easier and less messy delivery methods like vaping have not only transformed the usefulness and public perception of the drug, they have also helped the industry explode into the mainstream.
As Eaze explained in its “2017 State of Cannabis” report, these products are helping more and more longtime — and new — users discover how easy it can be to enjoy marijuana.
“Products that are ready to use out of the box, easy to use, and portable, especially interest newcomers as these products result in a smooth and pleasant first-time introduction to marijuana,” the report says. “These ‘convenience’ products only require a match or lighter, a push of a button, or some appetite, and are perfect for many lifestyle activities, such as prerolls for a concert, or a vaporizer for yoga.”
Similar to e-cigarettes, vape cartridges are the most popular of all the new convenience products. Because the products don’t actually burn any organic material, the New York Times notes, they are widely considered to be safer than smoking in the same way vaping nicotine is safer than smoking cigarettes.
As recently as 2014, marijuana flower accounted for 85 percent of Eaze’s annual sales. The company saw sales of vape cartridges jump by 400 percent between 2015 and 2016, driving down flower to less than a third of its total sales and helping to boost the company’s overall sales by 300 percent in 2017.
Another cannabis start-up, Cura Cannabis Solutions, an Oregon company that specializes vape cartridges, has seen similar growth. In December 2016, the Times reports, the company’s sales were $2 million. One year later, they were raking in $7 million each month.
According to the Times, this “increasingly sophisticated set of marijuana start-ups” argue that by “pushing the industry past smoke, they can make cannabis convenient and ubiquitous — the drug of the future, and the next great American bonanza.”
With the industry estimated to hit $23 billion by 2021, it’s hard to disagree.