Education Guides

Getting to Know The Home Grower

People who grow cannabis at home love the plant, are passionate about gardening, and are poised to spend an estimated $4 billion by 2030 supporting their hobby. In this article we explore who’s growing at home, why they’re doing it, and what it means for the industry as a whole.

More than half of US states have some form of cannabis legalization on the books, giving more Americans legal access to the plant than ever before. As this access allows for deeper research into consumer behavior, insights beyond purchasing trends, branding, and revenue are coming to light. And one finding in particular is pretty fascinating: 6% of U.S. cannabis consumers – that’s about three million people – reportedly grow their own cannabis at home as part of a consumer segment that is expected to reach nearly 4.1 million people by 20301

 

As state-led legalization paves the way for potential federal cannabis reform, studies show that more people in legal markets around the country are embracing home cultivation. In this article, we explore what the data reveals about who’s growing at home, why they’re doing it, and why the industry should take note.

Home Growers: Who Are They?

 

Getting to know the mysterious home grower has been no easy feat due largely to prohibition. However, as legalization expands so do opportunities to research the plant and people’s relationship with it. As more studies are conducted by New Frontier Data and other data and analytics firms, fresh insights into this elusive consumer demographic are coming to light – and defying stigmas along the way. 

 

For example, research shows that despite enduring stereotypes equating home growers with off-the-grid outlaws and cash-strapped college students, the people who grow their own cannabis on average are more likely to be middle-aged parents4. More than half of home growers are either married or in a relationship, and just under half of them are parents to children under the age of 181. With 71% of cannabis-consuming home growers having outside edible gardens, home cultivators also happen to be passionate gardeners1. And more than three-quarters of cannabis growers prefer flower over all other consumption methods3.

 

Why They Grow At Home

 

Having a green thumb and a preference for cannabis flower are reason enough for anyone to take up home cultivation, so it’s not surprising that 60% of people who cultivate at home reportedly grow all or most of the cannabis they consume4. But being able to get high on their own supply isn’t the main motivation driving home cultivation. 

 

It turns out 70% of home growers (the vast majority!) do it simply because they enjoy it. Convenience was the next most popular reason reported by 52% of home growers, followed by just under half who cite either the ability to save money or to cultivate a better quality product as their primary reasons for cultivating at home4. Indoor cultivation is the method of choice for 56% of home growers4 and while roughly a quarter of cultivators consider their grow to be either a hobby-and-commercial or a solely commercial venture2, 49% of home cultivators report sharing their harvests with friends and family1.

 

Legalization Breeds More Home Growers

 

Research shows home grow participation rates to be 7% in markets where cannabis is fully legal for adult use, compared with 5% in medical and 4% in illicit markets1, indicating that legalization’s expansion is also helping drive interest in home cultivation. Nearly half of home growers report cultivating for only a year or less4, and 53% of them purchase their supplies from local hardware and garden stores1

 

Meanwhile, the cannabis seed market has its own story to tell. Fueled largely by the DEA’s decision to treat seeds containing less than 0.3%THC like hemp, and the growing popularity of autoflower and feminized seeds – technological advancements that increase the potential for flowering plants and fruitful yields with every harvest – this category alone is estimated to reach $6.5 billion globally by 2031. 

 

Put together, these data points paint the picture of an enthusiastic, inspired community that loves to garden, is passionate about the plant, and is willing to invest in a hobby that offers both commercial and caregiving potential. New Frontier Data’s forecast that home cultivators could spend nearly $4 billion on supplies1 and produce more than 15 million pounds of dried flower by 20302 spotlights the growing need for tools and educational resources to support their hobby – and further validates that expanding legalization is opening the door to more people discovering the joy of growing cannabis at home.

In Summary

  • About 6% of U.S. cannabis consumers report growing cannabis at home
  • On average, home growers are middle-aged parents
  • The vast majority of home growers do it purely because they enjoy it
  • More people grow at home in fully legal markets than in medical or illicit markets
  • Changing laws and the adoption of autoflower and feminized seeds are fueling the growth of the global cannabis seed market

 

References

  1. New Frontier Data: As U.S. Legal Cannabis Market Expands, Annual Consumer Spending on Homegrowing Could Near $4B by 2030
  2. New Frontier Data: Home Is Where the Flower Is: Cannabis Homegrowers on the Rise 
  3. New Frontier Data: Cultivating the Homegrowing Consumer
  4. New Frontier Data: For Many Cannabis Consumers, Home Is Where the Grow Is

 

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