A new study (see below) reveals consumer confusion around U.S. standards for cannabis product safety and quality, showing a widely-held, inaccurate assumption that cannabis products have the same basic protections that exist for food, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the U.S.
The national study was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of SICPA, a provider of regulatory compliance solutions, and the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS) among more than 2,000 U.S. adults. According to the results:
- Nearly three-quarters of Americans overall (72%) and 80% of American cannabis consumers think cannabis products are grown and produced using consistent product safety standards (regardless of which state they are legally purchased in).
- More than four in five Americans overall (81%) and 84% of cannabis consumers think that no matter where they are located, the businesses licensed to grow and produce cannabis products must meet consistent environmental standards.
- More than three-quarters of Americans overall (77%) and 81% of cannabis consumers, believe cannabis employers are held to the same health and safety standards for their workers as every other industry.
“Our new survey shows Americans are wholly misinformed about the lack of basic safety and quality protections for cannabis products in many states,” said Karen Gardner, Chief Marketing Officer, SICPA US. “Even cannabis consumers themselves aren’t aware that in states where products are legal, there are no uniform standards, leaving lots of room for unsafe, poor-quality products on the market.”
Also surveyed in the poll were sentiments around established federal standards for cannabis products. According to the report:
- 84% of Americans overall and 84% of cannabis consumers support setting federal standards for product safety and quality for cannabis products produced or sold in the U.S.
- 83% of Americans overall and 83% of cannabis consumers support the federal government setting standards for environmental protections that must be met by the U.S. cannabis industry in the U.S.
The poll showed large support among Americans for decriminalization and/or legalization of cannabis products. Nearly three in four (74%) Americans overall and nearly four in five (79%) cannabis consumers are in favor of decriminalization. Additionally, 78% of Americans and 86% of cannabis consumers support the legalization of cannabis at the national level.
“The U.S. has a plethora of consumer protection laws and organizations, at both the federal and state level, that regulate consumer affairs. So, it is understandable that Americans expect these same consumer protections in cannabis, like they do for everything they purchase,” said Lezli Engelking, president and founder of FOCUS. “Unfortunately, as these and other findings continue to show, nothing could be further from the truth. Americans want safe, reliable, and quality cannabis products. The lack of protections for cannabis consumers, is simply one more example of the extreme risks to public health and safety Americans are exposed to given the lack of action around cannabis at the federal level.”
FOCUS was founded in 2014 to combat the lack of consumer protections. The non-profit cannabis-specific health and safety organization works to protect public health, consumer safety and the environment within the cannabis industry.
The SICPA-Harris Poll survey also measured cannabis use among Americans, finding 55% of Americans have used cannabis products at some point in time, with more than two in five (42%) stating they’ve used cannabis products in the past 12 months, and 16% saying they consumed cannabis products for the first time in the past 12 months.
This is the third SICPA-The Harris Poll survey on cannabis; in February, the second survey showed overwhelming support among cannabis consumers for more in-depth information about the products they use. The first poll, released last Fall, showed broad support among Americans for securely labeling cannabis products to verify their legitimacy and safety in the marketplace.
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of SICPA between April 26-28, 2022 among 2,069 adults ages 18+, among whom 1,220 have ever used cannabis products.