Thanksgiving week has traditionally been one of the best-ever sales weeks for the US cannabis industry. But this year, cannabis has finally become so normalized that the holidays are now just business as usual.
Up until recently, the day before Thanksgiving - aka Green Wednesday - has been one of the legal weed industry’s best-selling days. In California and Michigan, last year's Green Wednesday was the third-highest-grossing sales day of 2021, according to a new industry report from New Frontier Data. But this year, the top-selling day in November was the 18th, a regular Friday. This year's Black Friday sales were also on par with the average Friday, while last year's Black Friday was one of the top five best sales days of 2021.
This November's sales were as strong overall as last year's, so it's clear that people aren't losing interest in weed. New Frontier suggests that the shift can likely be explained by the simple fact that cannabis is both more widely accepted and more easily accessible than ever. So instead of stocking up on a huge stash of bud and sneaking it home for the holidays, more people can source legal weed back in their hometowns.
“I think it’s normalization and increased access nationwide that is driving the change in holiday purchasing,” explained Dr. Amanda Reiman (Ph.D, MSW), chief knowledge officer, in a press release. “Not only are people just more comfortable using their regular products in more places and with more people, but cannabis is available in more states, so there is not as much need to stock up before you go if you can get it wherever you’re headed. Many folks would likely rather wait and buy cannabis at their destination than to take it on a plane.”
“That creates a scenario of fewer people having to go to more limited numbers of shops to supply themselves, their friends, and family over the holidays,” Reiman added. “It also alleviates the need to get everything you need for three or four days before traveling. For instance, people do not usually buy all of the alcohol they will consume over the holiday before traveling and bring it with them to their destination.”
And in states where adult-use cannabis remains prohibited, many pot lovers score their bud from friends and family instead of black market dealers. New Frontier reports that over a third of cannabis users in medical-only or prohibition states rely on their friends or family as their exclusive source for weed. Around 43% of consumers also said that they have given weed to their friends or relatives as well.
The days of sneaking out to smoke a joint alone before a family dinner may be over, too: 68% of cannabis consumers said they get high with other people over the holidays. Sharing with relatives is also becoming increasingly popular. Around 21% say they smoke with siblings, 19% share with cousins or other extended family, and 11% even get blazed with their parents.
“Even for those who don’t consume with family, most don’t hide their use,” said Dr. Molly McCann (Ed.D.), New Frontier Data's Senior Director for Consumer Insights. “85% of consumers say their family knows about their cannabis use, and a majority (59%) say their family is generally supportive of their use.”
The overall breakdown of cannabis products purchased over Thanksgiving week also suggests that weed is becoming more and more normalized. In recent years, many stoners tended to stock up on discreet products like vape carts and edibles before the holiday. In 2021, the market share of these “family-friendly” products in Michigan jumped from 37% in the first week of November to 43% in the week of Thanksgiving. But this year, edibles and vapes' market share remained steady at around 40% throughout November.
“We expect that as markets continue to mature and new markets come online, consumer preferences will become increasingly normalized, and acquisition of cannabis will become increasingly integrated into consumers’ daily routines,” said Senior Research Analyst Noah Tomares in a statement. “Already, 48% of consumers report just visiting a dispensary after they run out, as opposed to planning a dedicated trip. With new markets opening with lower barriers to acquisition, consumers may feel less pressure to purchase cannabis before travel or social events. As this plays out, we may see some unofficial holidays playing a less significant role in consumers’ purchase decisions.”