DENVER – Move over Black Friday, because there’s a new way to celebrate the start of the holiday season: Green Friday.
Marijuana stores around the country have been offering discounts, sales and other incentives to bring in cannabis buyers over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
“It’s like being a baby walking into a candy store,” said Dallas resident Mike Ivy, 27, after he and two friends spent hundreds of dollars at a Native Roots dispensary in downtown Denver. The three men were visiting Colorado specifically to check out the state’s legal recreational marijuana, buying joints, edibles, a bong and flower marijuana.
Last year, it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving – Weed Wednesday – that saw the largest increase in sales over a normal day: a 55% increase in transactions and a 25% increase in average order size, said the marijuana-services company Baker. Store workers reported brisk pre-Thanksgiving sales of marijuana-infused candies or other foods known as edibles . Last year, sales at Oregon’s dispensaries rose 14% higher than an average day, and Colorado followed with a 7.01% increase in sales, Baker’s analysis found.
April 20, known as 4/20, remains the biggest marijuana sales day nationally, said Baker.
Inside the Native Roots store, manager Brandon Maniez watched as budtenders explained different strains to customers and advised first-time edibles users to take things slowly. Edibles can be highly potent, and it’s hard for many people to judge their consumption because they might not take effect for up to two hours. Tourists represent a large proportion of the store’s customers, and a steady stream of buyers filtered through the secure doors to have their IDs checked and rechecked before being allowed to buy.
The store was offering Black Friday deals that included a free joint and lighter for spending at least $25, and a packet of pocket-sized joints for spending at least $75.
“This is like a dream come true for a lot of people,” Maniez said. “Drinking is always the socially acceptable thing, but around here, so is cannabis.”
Next Thanksgiving may see even more legal marijuana stores across the country, following votes to legalize recreational cannabis in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada.