‘Green Wednesday’ Shows Changing Consumer Habits

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Cannabis is a growing part of the holidays

A tectonic shift is taking place as previously underground drugs are thrust into the mainstream. As I’ve covered alcohol, tobacco and cannabis for Bloomberg News, a common theme has emerged: Mental-health care is ripe for disruption, and yesterday’s party drugs are tomorrow’s cures. The holidays are traditionally a time for Americans to booze it up — but there’s a new intoxicant gaining favor. Industry insiders now call the day before Thanksgiving “Green Wednesday” due to the large amounts of cannabis purchased that day. It adds to the stretch of traditional days where shoppers prepare for the holidays — Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday — and its recent rise shows how consumption patterns around celebrations are starting to change. Cannabis sales that day are generally 40% higher than a typical Wednesday in November, according to research firm BDSA. As they wait for this year’s figures to roll in, the expectation is that it could end up having been the best Green Wednesday yet.

“Overall sales increases could be higher than that 40% this year because there’s been more de-stigmatization around the product,” said BDSA’s vice president of insights and analytics, Kelly Nielsen, in a phone interview.

This “could encourage people to bring it to family and group gatherings,” she added.

Ayr Wellness, a multistate operator based in Miami, said its own survey of 1,300 cannabis consumers found that almost 8 in 10 people intended to consume cannabis they’d buy on Green Wednesday with family or friends. Additionally, about half of people who planned to buy on that day meant to make a gift of their marijuana purchase, according to the study, which was done with market research firm Suzy this month.

Cannabis is “a useful resource for managing family dynamics during the holidays,” Ayr said in a statement, noting that 25% of Americans say that family visits for the holidays are stressful. Around 15% of all American parents will use cannabis to deal with holiday-related stress, according to the study.

The study also found that 37% of cannabis consumers planned to serve THC-infused products with their Thanksgiving meal. That’s surprising, considering that in general around 80% of marijuana products sold are meant to be smoked or vaped, according to BDSA’s data.

Marijuana is likely becoming an entrenched part of other holidays, such as New Year’s Eve and Christmas Day, Nielsen said. This doesn’t mean alcohol will go away — in fact, about 30% of consumers say they pair cannabis with some form of alcohol, according to BDSA data. 

Marijuana’s competition with champagne and eggnog over the holidays may be just the beginning of how it disrupts alcohol: Nielsen said BDSA’s data also found that 40% of cannabis consumers in fully legal states say they always incorporate it into celebrations and special events.

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