Cannabis connoisseurs, even with their well-earned reputation for being super chill, aren’t immune to the fear of missing out, especially when it comes to seasonal shopping.
So while the general consumer base has its Black Friday and Cyber Monday, cannabis fans have their Green Wednesday, second only to 4/20 as a national weed-buying extravaganza.
This year, as people shelter in place and forgo social gatherings per CDC recommendations, sales of bud, edibles, tinctures and vapes may break previous years’ records and cement Green Wednesday—which takes place today, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving— further into cannabis lore, according to industry experts.
“It’s one of our high holidays in weed,” Nidhi Lucky Handa, CEO of Los Angeles-based cannabis brand Leune. “It’s a day to stock up because it represents a long weekend, and people are thinking about self-care.”
Green Wednesday, as a concept, got its start around 2016, reportedly cooked up by the delivery platform Eaze, after it noted an organic swell in demand. It was quickly adopted by dispensaries and brands offering holiday-specific discounts and doorbuster deals, not unlike Walmart, Target or any mainstream brick-and-mortar store.
In uncertain times, and especially over the holidays, it’s no surprise that people turn to cannabis for relaxation.
Socrates Rosenfeld, co-founder and CEO, Jane Technologies
Many industry execs, like Handa, thought it was a lark in the early days. But after seeing the stats—bulk buying that nearly reached the lofty heights of April 20, the global celebration of all-things-weed—they were believers.
That was everyone’s cue, she said, to start planning and strategizing months in advance of Green Wednesday.
The holiday took hold for a number of reasons, according to John Ford, vp of retail for Chalice Farms, a seven-dispensary chain in Oregon.
“People are traveling home to see friends and family, potentially from out of state where recreational sales may not be legal, and many dispensaries are closed on Thanksgiving,” he said.
Another industry veteran called the holiday an homage to the “stress-reducing, sleep-enhancing, appetite-stimulating benefits” of weed and “the perfect opportunity to prepare for food fights with in-laws, all-day baking affairs and defeating the indomitable itis,” said Matt Janz, director of THC marketing for The+Source retailer in Las Vegas.
But as health officials warn against holiday travel this year, there may be fewer anxiety-producing moments—crowded flights and awkward family dinners—that traditionally drove weed purchases. Also missing: the communal, sharing aspect of cannabis, which is nearly extinct in the wake of Covid-19.
A soothing distraction
At the same time, as coronavirus cases spike, stress levels are peaking, and people are looking for a soothing distraction.
“Thanksgiving 2020 will be unlike any in living memory,” according to a recent report from research firm Headset, which tracks weed sales in Oregon, California, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, Michigan and Massachusetts. “With millions of Americans being asked to stay at home for the holiday, frankly, what else is there to do?”
Reps at Eaze say they’re anticipating another green rush, brought on by concerns about the pandemic, the shaky economy and the divisive post-election mood in the country.
Analysts are basing their 2020 projections on prior Green Wednesday data, which has shown the holiday’s explosive growth in just a few short years.
Green Wednesday sales in 2019, for instance, jumped 60% over an average of the previous four Wednesdays in a handful of adult-use states, Headset found. In California alone, the country’s most robust market, Green Wednesday sales jumped to $14.5 million last year, a 65% increase over the previous four Wednesdays.