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Study: Most Americans in Legal States Express “Positive Perceptions” of the Cannabis Marketplace

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Adults residing in states where retail [cannabis] sales are legally regulated tend to hold a positive impression of the marketplace, according to data published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Commenting on the study’s findings, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “This data once again affirms that most voters do not experience ‘buyer’s remorse’ following [cannabis] legalization. In the minds of most Americans, these laws are operating as voters intended and in a manner that is consistent with their expectations.”

Investigators affiliated with the University of Waterloo, School of Public Health in Canada surveyed 5,530 respondents residing in Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Authors reported: “The current findings suggest generally positive perceptions of the legal cannabis market. Most respondents, including frequent cannabis consumers, perceived legal cannabis to be of equal or greater quality and convenience, and as safer to buy and use than cannabis from illegal sources.”

NORML’s Armentano further acknowledges that no state that has legalized the use of cannabis for either medical or adult-use purposes has ever repealed their law.

Although some respondents in the study expressed concerns that legally sold cannabis products tend to be more expensive than those available in the illicit market, most also acknowledged that prices typically fall over time as the market matures. Overall, respondents were likely to think most favorably about the marketplaces in the jurisdictions where cannabis had been legal the longest.

The findings are consistent with prior studies finding that most Americans believe that the enactment of [cannabis] legalization policies has been successful.

An abstract of the study, “Consumer perceptions of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ cannabis in US states with legal cannabis sales,” appears online here.


NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of [cannabis] by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use marijuana responsibly are no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for [cannabis]-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.

Find out more at and read our factsheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country at

For Immediate Release


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