Legal Marijuana Use Connects Millennials and Boomers

Colorado’s legal marijuana sales data released

Last month, the Colorado Department of Revenue Enforcement Division issued its annual Marijuana Update for 2014, setting off a nationwide buzz now that the results of the first year of legalized sales are in. Snappy headlines about Colorado going to pot and Rocky Mountain High abound, but the news coverage also shows that legalization up here is garnering serious attention.

The Dept. of Revenue reported some 19.3 tons of recreational marijuana were sold in 2014, excluding edible products. BTW, that’s US tons (2,000 lbs), not UK tons (2,240 lbs) and – in another transatlantic cultural nuance – our edibles don’t involve Marmite.

19 Tons

We’ll let the professional toke-tracking community figure out how many joints 19 tons represents, but it sure sounds like a lot. Way too much to tote in a plastic baggie, it would overwhelm a small army of champion weightlifters.

Impressive as this may seem, it is far outstripped by the almost 55 tons sold for medical use. Based on January, 2015 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, the 15th Nation research gurus project medical users to be fairly evenly distributed among Millennials (30%), Gen X (35%) and Boomers (30%). The remaining five percent are from either younger or older generations; there is no age restriction for medical use.

Dave's not hereHowever, demographics are harder to come by for recreational usage. It’s not surprising – imagine the pollster’s challenge just to survey the topic. Dave’s not here, man.

But approximations can be made from national polls. In October, 2014, the Pew Research Center put Millennial approval of legalizing marijuana use at 63%, with Gen X at 54% and Boomers at 51%. The findings were highly consistent with 2013 polling by the Brookings Institution.

Support legalizing marijuana use

So, if deeds follow words, as more Millennials turn 21 – Colorado’s legal age for recreational use – we expect consumption rates to eventually skew in their direction.

Still, the bigger picture shows there is not a great deal of difference from Millennials to Gen Xers to Boomers. Recreational marijuana use is more of a generational connector than a separator.

Bridging generational differences smoke free at Frozen Dead Guy Days

In other Colorado news, after a cold and snowy winter, folks should be in great shape for the unusual athletic events at the upcoming 14th annual Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland, Colorado.

As we posted last fall, the festivities celebrate the cryogenic suspension of Norwegian native, Bredo Morstøl who resides in – make that occupies – a dry ice refrigerated Tuff Shed in that tiny mountain town. But Bredo isn’t squawking; hey, it’s home.

Pink Sock team wins 2014

First time FDGD competitors might want to skip The Coffin Race because the “World Champion” Pink Socks team is on a roll after five wins in a row. However, the Frozen Salmon Toss, Ice Turkey Bowling and the Brain Freeze Contest are wide open. The Frozen T-Shirt Competition too.

If all this isn’t weird enough, the whole shebang kicks off with the Blue Ball. Ouch.

Sophisticated? Maybe not – but out here in fly-over country, we rustics kinda like it.

Perhaps the best aspect of Frozen Dead Guy Days is that it bonds Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers in frigid fun. Goofiness knows no generational divide.

Of course, warm generational bonding is also available in the many local restaurants and bars. However, although Nederland is home to America’s first licensed, members-only cannabis club, the ClubNed Cafe, it takes its role as host to a family-friendly event seriously. Open use of Colorado’s most famous legal substance is not permitted in town.

Grandpa Bredo remains characteristically silent on the issue.

Frozen dead guy collage

Millennials and Boomers: bonding opens the door to opportunity

Traditional Madison Avenue thinking dwells on the differences between Millennials and Americans in the 50+ space. The Bredo Morstøls of the business have the frozen view that Boomers are too old to adapt to new buying behavior.

It’s understandable that brands need to build loyalty among the young, but omitting older consumers from the mainstream brand marketing mix is short-sighted.

The Boomer-Plus Generation™, born 1940-1965, numbers 93 million and owns over 70% of U.S. household net worth. As a country it would be the world’s 15th most populous – the 15th Nation™ – and a larger, affluent market than any EU nation and far bigger than Canada and Australia combined.

Fortunately, adland’s more disruptive Millennial up-and-comers have stopped inhaling and are looking to understand how to engage with this mega-market. We’re here to help them emerge from the Tuff Shed and make those warm and profitable connections.

Opportunity 15th Nation About

Boomer - neXt SM logo_MMOriginally published as a Boomer-Plus Consulting Group post; in September, 2017, we up-branded as Boomer / neXt to welcome the 4 million Gen Xers who join the Boomers in the 50+ space each year.

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