Marijuana and Thanksgiving: High For The Holidays
As I make the rounds of family gatherings this Thanksgiving week, I’ve noticed a wide variety of cannabis-infused foodstuffs, encompassing edibles, condiments, snacks, desserts, beverages…you name it.
It’s still something of a shock to me when I witness firsthand how marijuana pervades the daily rituals of average American life. The pot revolution really hit home this holiday week, when a family member asked me: “Want an edible to go with your cherry pie?”
Dispensaries throughout the U.S. reported a spike in cannabis sales in recent days. But it’s not just Thanksgiving. Other major holidays, e.g. July 4th, Labor Day, and Christmas, also have witnessed surges in retail pot sales.
Ayr Wellness and Suzy, global market researchers, conducted a survey in October 2022 of U.S. marijuana consumers and found that 24% of respondents will spend $100 or more on cannabis for Thanksgiving.
The study, conducted last month with more than 1,600 Americans, also found that more than a third (34%) plan to serve THC-infused food, and 65% will choose cannabis over alcohol for their Thanksgiving festivities.
As the state-level legalization of marijuana proliferates, consumers are publicly and unabashedly including marijuana in their holiday celebrations.
I never thought I’d live to see cannabis become “family friendly” for holiday get-togethers, but that’s exactly the case, in many cities and suburbs from coast to coast.
The top four cannabis sales days in the U.S. are:
- April 20 (“Weed Day”): $111.8 million in 2021 and a record $154 million in 2022.
- The day after Thanksgiving (“Black Friday”): $99 million in 2021.
- The day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 24 (“Green Wednesday”): $98.2 million in 2021.
- The day preceding Christmas Eve: $94 million in 2021.
The sales figures for Thanksgiving this year are still being tabulated, but they’re projected to break records.
Flower currently represents 44% of total cannabis sales (nearly 50% if pre-rolls are added). A reported 83% of cannabis consumers have used flower, 64% have purchased flower, and 31% have purchased a pre-roll.
“Flower” refers to the smokeable, leafy part of a cannabis plant. In the burgeoning marijuana industry, flower is dominant.
The green rush in the Golden State…
The huge, fast-growing cannabis market of California is a compelling case study of these consumer trends.
California is the most populous state in the union and sports the largest legal and illicit cannabis market in the U.S. The Golden State legalized medical cannabis in 1996 and recreational use in 2016. Combined legal sales there totaled nearly $5.9 billion in 2021 and are projected to reach $9.25 billion by 2030, according to New Frontier Data. Cannabis also is the state’s largest cash crop.
In 2021, legal sales of flower in California over a weekly basis remained roughly consistent, with Fridays and Saturdays routinely posting the most flower transactions, accounting for 17% and 15% of weekly totals, respectively. Mondays and Tuesdays represented the lowest proportions of sales, with each representing 13% of average weekly transactions.
Holidays witnessed the highest sales increases. July Fourth, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve each marked large boosts for total flower sales and pre-roll transactions (see chart).
In a recent report, New Frontier stated:
“The broadening availability of value-added products and fragmentation of use makes it especially important for flower brands to understand how consumers make purchasing decisions, identify for which applications their flower products are best suited, and align their marketing and brand-positioning to reflect the applications and intentions which best align with their target audiences’ intended uses.”
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John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.