State study delves into habits, attitudes of Minnesota cannabis users

Nearly two-thirds of Minnesota cannabis users consume the substance at least once a week, according to a study commissioned by the state Office of Cannabis Management.

The survey of 494 people from across the state is part of regulators’ efforts to “understand the current state of cannabis consumers and cannabis demand,” a report released on Tuesday states. All participants must have used marijuana in the past year to qualify.

According to the report, 83% of respondents had consumed some form of cannabis in the past month, with 40% of the whole consuming cannabis “daily or almost daily” and another 24% reporting usage “once or twice per week.” However, researchers acknowledged they likely oversampled for frequent users to better approximate demand.

On average, study participants consumed 24.77 grams of cannabis in the past month — a tad higher than the national rate — but Minnesotans reported slightly less frequent usage.

Survey respondents most commonly reported obtaining cannabis from friends or family (67.6%), followed by adult-use dispensaries (61.3%) and dealers (53.4%). The greatest proportion of cannabis acquired across the sample came from dealers, and users were more likely to visit a dealer three or more times than any other source. The report suggests recreational dispensaries, once operational, will largely take the place of black market sales.

Recreational cannabis has been legal for Minnesota adults since Aug. 1, but the state has yet to roll out the framework for licensing dispensaries.

Under state law, local governments must allow for at least one dispensary for every 12,500 residents. By that metric, the Office of Cannabis Management says there will be “no less than” 381 licensed dispensaries statewide.

State officials expect to start issuing licenses for adult-use dispensaries in late 2024 or early 2025, but regulators have yet to decide whether to limit the number of licenses available.

Minnesotans have been able to grow cannabis for personal use since legalization, and 25% of survey respondents said they had cultivated plants at home.

The study also demonstrated a rift in attitudes and behaviors between cannabis users who reported driving while high and those who didn’t.

Of the sample, 43% said they had driven while under the influence of cannabis (DUIC) in the past month and those who did report driving while high had done so an average of 10 days over that time.

Respondents who reported zero DUIC days were more likely to find driving while high at least moderately harmful (58%) compared with those who had reported one or more DUIC days (31%). More than half of people who reported driving while high had consumed marijuana right before or during work within the past month (51%), compared with 28% of cannabis users overall.

Cannabis use while pregnant was most widely considered at least moderately harmful by survey respondents (62.4%), while fewer participants felt daily cannabis use to be at least moderately harmful (32.8%) than those who said the practice isn’t harmful at all (33.4%).

Read the full report below: