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Hispanic Americans are more involved than other Americans in promoting the legalization of cannabis, and more interested in the wellness and leisure-time uses of marijuana and CBD products in their lives, according to research from MRI-Simmons. 

MRI-Simmons surveyed 3,000 Americans online, fusing the results back to its Survey of the American Consumer, a national study that measures media choices, attitudes and behaviors of 24,000 Americans. The resulting National Cannabis Study found that Hispanics’ attitudes toward cannabis use and legalization were significantly different than those of the general population. (See more results from this study in Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack 2019.)

The 2018 MRI National Cannabis Study divided respondents into segments based on their attitudes toward cannabis, including Marijuana Mavens, Cannabis Campaigners and Cannabis Cheerleaders on the positive side—and Cannabis Critics, Reefer Resisters and Weed Worriers on the negative side.

One of the most striking findings is that Hispanics are 42 percent more likely than the average American to be Cannabis Campaigners—those consumers who are not necessarily marijuana users, but who are the most informed about cannabis issues, and who actively support legalization.

Only half of the Cannabis Campaigners say they use marijuana. But members of this group believe legalization is good for the economy generally, is a potential source of tax revenue, and that marijuana consumption should be normalized (like alcohol use).

Similarly, Hispanics are 30 percent more likely than the average cannabis consumer to belong to a group that actively promotes legalizing cannabis, and 49 percent more likely to purchase clothing and accessories showing their support of cannabis and of legalization.

Hispanic millennials are one of the most likely demographic groups to be Cannabis Campaigners; they’re 75 percent more likely than the average American to fall into that activist, informed category.

Hispanics’ attitudes toward cannabis in part reflect that the Hispanic market is younger than the non-Hispanic market. Median age of the U.S. Hispanic population is 29.5, versus 40.6 for the non-Hispanic population, according to the Census Bureau.

Attitudes regarding cannabis tend to be closer among Hispanics and non-Hispanics in a given age group. For example, attitudes toward cannabis among Hispanic millennials and non-Hispanic millennials are generally similar, though there are some nuances.

MRI-Simmons' study revealed that Hispanic Americans overall don’t have the negative attitudes toward cannabis use or users that many other Americans do—particularly when comparing cannabis to alcohol use.

For instance, Hispanics are 33 percent more likely to agree with the statement “Users of alcohol are unreliable people.”

Hispanic users of cannabis say they’ve cut back on alcohol and both over-the-counter and prescription drug use in favor of cannabis.

Hispanic millennials are 24 percent more likely to agree with the statement “I would prefer my child consume cannabis over alcohol.”

“For marketers, it’s interesting that so much of the Hispanic population falls into the campaigner category,” says Jillian Andersen, research director-consumer insights and trends for MRI-Simmons. “They don’t necessarily need to be consumers to be advocating for legalization. In addition, Hispanics are 19 percent more likely to fall into the Wellness Pot Practitioners segment—a group really into cannabis as a wellness tool who are two times more likely to use CBD products.”

CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is a nonintoxicating chemical compound found in cannabis plants.

Andersen says those wellness users account for 35 percent of Hispanic cannabis consumers, compared to 30 percent of all cannabis users. These Hispanics say using cannabis or CBD is part of a healthy lifestyle.

In addition, she says, the study reveals potential implications for travel and hospitality marketers: Hispanic consumers show significantly more interest in using cannabis in vacation and social settings.

Hispanic respondents were 42 percent more likely to say they’d choose a vacation destination based on whether cannabis is legally available. And they’re between 15 percent and 20 percent more likely than the average American to be interested in visiting both public and members-only cannabis consumption lounges, as well as cannabis-friendly hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfast locations. Across the board, those percentages are even higher among both Hispanic millennials and foreign-born Hispanic Americans.

Learn more: Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack 2019

Want to know more about the Hispanic market?

Get the latest stats and facts on Hispanic marketing, media, agencies and demographics in the 16th annual Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack.

Download digital edition of Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack 2019. Digital edition available to Ad Age Insider, Editor’s Circle and Datacenter subscribers; also can be purchased for $49.

Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack 2019 was bundled with Ad Age’s Aug. 12, 2019, print edition. Order print copies at customerservice@adage.com or call 877-320-1721. Outside the U.S., call 313-446-0450.