Would it surprise you to learn the casual drinkers consume more alcohol on weekends that include a holiday? Probably not. Alcohol and holidays seem to go together. But now, it appears as though cannabis is part of the weekend holiday ritual as well. Data from Denver-based Akerna shows that Halloween weekend cannabis sales exceeded sales of candy and Halloween costumes.
In total, Americans spent more on cannabis products on the last week in October than they did on the supplies normally associated with Halloween. That is pretty amazing when you consider three things:
- How popular a holiday Halloween is
- Cannabis users are still in the minority
- Only eleven states allow recreational use.
So what does it all mean? It means that either Halloween is not as popular as it once was, or recreational cannabis is more popular than most people understand. Take your pick.
● A Major Identity Crisis
Long before anyone in California was talking about legalizing marijuana, people were still cultivating cannabis. The plant is as old as humanity itself; documented use goes back thousands of years. But in the modern era, cannabis has undergone a major identity crisis.
Prior to the early 20th century, cannabis wasn’t even on the radar for most people. People who used it did so discreetly. It was not until the postwar era that cannabis came out of the closet as a widely used recreational drug. By the 1970s, the federal government decided that it had to be banned. That is when Congress added marijuana to the federal list of illicit drugs, classifying it as a Schedule I controlled substance.
● Approving Medical Cannabis
Some twenty years after the federal action, cannabis advocates wanted to remove the stigma associated with their drug of choice. So they began a drive to get cannabis approved as a medicine. That was in the mid-1990s. Once California opened the door to medical cannabis, other states began to follow. We now have thirty-seven states with medical programs and eleven with legal recreational use.
Utah is a medical-only state. Furthermore, the state has one of the most restrictive medical cannabis laws in the country, according to the people behind Park City’s Deseret Wellness pharmacy. But despite being so restrictive, tens of thousands of patients now use cannabis in Utah.
● A Lot of Cannabis
The current combined value of both recreational and medical cannabis is in the billions. Halloween weekend 2021 sales tell the story. According to the Akerna research, total sales on the last weekend of October brought in more than $182 million. October 29 was one of the single largest sales days ever, exceeding $81 million. Halloween weekend sales were up more than 8% in 2021 as compared to 2020.
That is a lot of cannabis. Moreover, the $182 million in sales cited by the research accounts for just three days. There are 362 other days in the year. Imagine how much cannabis is being bought from January 1 to December 31.
It is not exactly clear why Halloween is so attractive as a cannabis using holiday. But it probably has something to do with adults getting together for Halloween parties. On Halloween, adults get to do something they never get to do the rest of the year: dress up in costumes and act weird for a couple of hours. Some people bring alcohol to the party, others apparently bring cannabis.
Based on the numbers, either cannabis is becoming increasingly more popular or Halloween is losing its luster. Or perhaps it’s a combination of both. Either way, America is buying and using a lot of cannabis.
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