John Locher / AP
Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 | 2 a.m.
Many are familiar with Black Friday, the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza featuring sales and long lines of consumers.
But you may not be familiar with Green Wednesday, the day-before-Thanksgiving retail marijuana push that produces some of the best sales of the year. Some dispensaries even report higher sales on Green Wednesday than on 4/20, the national holiday in cannabis culture on April 20.
Green Wednesday in 2019 saw 40% greater total sales than the average sales on the four previous Wednesdays, according to an analysis of recreational transactions in California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington by cannabis data company Headset.
Las Vegas dispensary officials say marijuana and the family gatherings of Thanksgiving are an ideal match because cannabis can stimulate the appetite, aid in digestion, reduce stress and help a hangover.
“The greater retail world braces for Black Friday while we brace for the gracious glory of Green Wednesday,” said Matthew Janz, director of marketing for The+Source, which has two Las Vegas dispensaries. “The rest of the world can have Black Friday. Green Wednesday is our cannabis-infused holiday that belongs to our culture.”
Janz expects Green Wednesday sales will be higher this year because consumers are stocking up with plans to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“In a similar, but not quite as alarming, fashion as toilet paper, we’ve seen our guests opt to make larger, bulk purchases this year,” Janz said. “We are always happy to pass along bulk savings to our guests and appreciate their sensitivity to being socially conscious.”
Marijuana Business Daily projects there will be $15.5-$18.9 billion in total U.S. marijuana retail sales for 2020, which is a $5-$6 billion increase from 2019. Just like Black Friday, dispensaries are advertising discounts on everything from prerolled joints to concentrates.
Ashley Blackwood, compliance director of THRIVE Cannabis Marketplace, said sales are 44% higher on Green Wednesday than on an average Wednesday. Although there are more sales on 4/20 than any other day of the year, transactions are larger and there are more high-priced items purchased on Green Wednesday, Blackwood said.
Prerolled joints and edibles are popular sale items on Green Wednesday. Blackwood said there are more new users on Thanksgiving, and edibles may be a more discreet and less intimidating way of consumption than inhalation.
“People are going back to homes and sharing edibles with relatives who haven’t experimented with cannabis before,” she said.
A statewide mandate limiting private gatherings to 10 attendees because of the pandemic could hinder cannabis sales, as some patrons buy in bulk to share at holiday gatherings, said Jason Sturtsman, a cannabis dispensary certification professor at the College of Southern Nevada. Sturtsman said the marketing push for Green Wednesday makes sense because marijuana users typically stock up before major holidays as dispensaries are usually closed.
He also points out that while the economy is sluggish because the pandemic has limited tourism, marijuana purchases haven’t showed any sign of slowing, even when dispensaries could only offer delivery at the outset of the pandemic in the spring.
Calculating how much product to have on their shelves this Green Wednesday was a challenge, said Brenda Gunsallus, who owns Sahara Wellness at 420 E. Sahara Ave. and Cannastarz at 631 Las Vegas Blvd. South. On one hand sales are up during the pandemic, but the typical Green Wednesday clientele also includes visitors, a demographic that is down.
“It’s a little of an unknown to everybody,” she said.