Last year, customers went into Canna Provisions stores with lists, buying marijuana products as holiday gifts for friends and family.
“As the whole gift-buying season was rolling out, we definitely saw people come in with their shopping lists. ‘I’m going to get grandma a topical and I’m going to get Uncle Bill a pre-roll,’” recalled Canna Provisions CEO Meg Sanders.
Checking off holiday gift lists is an image more associated with shoppers perusing aisles at big box stores in November and December. But as cannabis use is more normalized, dispensaries are becoming a more common stop for holiday buyers.
“It was really interesting to see this shift to a true retail experience for cannabis,” Sanders said. “’I’m not just shopping for myself, I’m actually thinking about my sister, I’m thinking about my family.’”
Some of that holiday shopping will start on “Green Wednesday,” the cannabis industry’s answer to Black Friday. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, dispensaries mark the occasion with deals, discounts and curated selections.
Sanders said Canna Provisions was very busy on Green Wednesday last year. The dispensary is just down the street from the Lee Premium Outlets, making it convenient for shoppers. Beyond gift-buying, some consumers just like to stock up before the holidays.
On the medical marijuana side of the business, discounts are common. However, regulations from the Cannabis Control Commission prohibit coupons, free or donated marijuana at recreational dispensaries.
Sanders said Canna Provisions, which has locations in Lee, Holyoke and Easthampton, curates bundles of items that offer a perceived value for Green Wednesday and throughout the holidays. Those deals may include a selection of different edibles for a specific price or 10 pre-rolls for $150. Last year, Canna Provisions had some weed-themed wrapping paper for some customers who were buying gifts, Sanders said.
Canna Provisions is also rolling out gift cards for shoppers who don’t know which products to buy for the cannabis enthusiast in their life.
In the past, Revolutionary Clinics, a medical dispensary with locations in Cambridge and Somerville, would bring out hot apple cider and doughnuts for Green Wednesday, said Tom Schneider, the dispensary’s chief marketing officer.
But this year is a different kind of celebration because of the coronavirus pandemic. Revolutionary Clinics is currently only operating as order-ahead and curbside pickup.
For Green Wednesday, there will be deals like 20% off a select pre-roll and 20% off the $99 Rev Access card, which offers a gram of flower every month and other discounts. There will also be festive “turkey legs,” which are pre-roll joints that feature wrappers with seasonal images like turkeys or leaves, Schneider said.
What Revolutionary Clinics is most excited about this season, Schneider said, is its sale of “The Giving Mint” by Mr. Moxey’s. Revolutionary Clinics says it will donate $1 to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless for each sale of The Giving Mint. The product has “a unique botanical blend of lemon verbena and yerba mate” and is gluten-free and vegan with 5mg CBD and 2.5mg THC per mint.
Last year, Revolutionary Clinics saw a 60% to 70% increase above other Wednesdays on Green Wednesday. Black Friday sales were also higher than on typical Fridays, Schneider said.
With coronavirus cases increasing in Massachusetts, some are wary that there could be another shutdown of businesses. In the spring, recreational marijuana stores had to close for two months under an order from Gov. Charlie Baker. Medical dispensaries were allowed to stay open.
“Get your holiday shopping done soon because there is no guarantee that you’re going to be able to go to your local store and purchase that really special, unique gift that you wanted to purchase,” Sanders said.
It is legal to give marijuana as a gift in Massachusetts. One ounce of pot, or up to five grams of marijuana concentrate, can be gifted to anyone who is 21 or older. It is federally illegal to mail a marijuana gift to someone else, however.
Doing some holiday shopping at dispensaries also presents an opportunity to shop local, Sanders said.
“It’s not that we are against people buying online or anything like that, but we are hyperlocal,” Sanders said. “We really want to see local businesses survive through this and it’s important to spend money with small companies like myself and our neighbors.”
Given the pandemic, it’s hard to predict how many buyers may be coming out for Green Wednesday. But marijuana sales haven’t slowed down this year. Despite the two-month shut down in Massachusetts, there has been $539 million in gross sales as of early November. In the full calendar year of 2019, retailers tallied $444.9 million in sales.