Cannabis Retail Expects Solid Boost from Green Wednesday

Cannabis retailers expect strong sales around Thanksgiving holiday.

Summer often gets the credit as the prime season for cannabis sales, but the back end of the year is no slouch. Several dispensary brands told Green Market Report that business typically jumps anywhere from 10% to 30% between the week before Thanksgiving and the start of the new year.

And that all starts the day before Thanksgiving – commonly known as Green Wednesday.

Data provided by Fyllo lists the fourth quarter as the highest retail sales period for dispensaries, with an 8% increase to other quarters. Fyllo reports that sales typically increase by 5% in November and 11% in December.

“We expect sales to begin spiking on Thanksgiving, then decreasing again until the third week of December, with the week of Christmas delivering one of the strongest weeks of the year for operators,” a representative from Fyllo said.

Green Wednesday Boost

In some state, the increase in sales on Green Wednesday can be massive. Some of the standout data points from cannabis analytics firm BDSA include:

  • In California, the day before Thanksgiving is the highest-selling day in November, averaging roughly 55% more in sales compared to nonholiday days that month.
  • In Missouri, medical sales on Green Wednesday 2021 nearly doubled daily sales averages for nonholiday days that month .
  • In Illinois, Black Friday sales beat nonholidays in November, with sales increasing about 70% that day.
  • Edibles saw the most significant rise in sales, with Green Wednesday edible purchases increasing roughly 75% and 70% higher in California and Illinois, respectively.

“The Thanksgiving Weed Week phenomenon is very real,” said Victor Bindi, director of sales at Fluent Cannabis. In 2021, Fluent’s week-over-week totals grew 16.7% the week before Thanksgiving and during the holiday week, totaling $2.6 million.

Dennis Curran, chief operating officer of multistate operate Acreage Holdings, said holiday momentum has increased in recent years, with consumers taking advantage of pre-Thanksgiving Day deals. He reports that Acreage’s Green Wednesday 2021 retail sales increased 33% compared to the previous four Wednesdays.

That said, Acreage’s Black Friday experienced a sales decrease compared to earlier years, though Curran did not elaborate on how large the decline was.

Curran anticipates another strong Green Wednesday despite current market concerns.

“With proper preparation, retailers can maximize their potential sales growth without diminishing their bottom line,” he said, citing discounts and targeted loyalty programs as some examples.

Meg Sanders, CEO of Massachusetts dual-location brand Canna Provisions, agreed. She said, “Green Wednesday sales are basically double what they normally are for us, and that whole week is a big bump through Thanksgiving.”

That sales momentum lasts through Christmas, as well, Sanders said.

Sales strategies

Jesse Henry, CEO of Sunset Pipeline, a San Francisco-based dispensary and delivery service, said November holiday sales mark an uptick that runs through the new year. But holiday shopping in general doesn’t always equate to increased sales or at least foot traffic.

“Stores that are nearby big shopping centers actually have slower days as parking is really tough, and people who need cannabis stay clear of the traffic,” he said.

To combat the issue, Sunset looks beyond just Wednesday, offering Green Week deals starting the Monday before Thanksgiving to combat the issue.

New York medical dispensary chain Etain also focuses on weeklong promotion, keeping discounts consistent from Nov. 19-26, according to COO Hillary Peckham. The company does offer additional discounts on particular holidays.

“During the holiday season, New York medical cannabis patients are not only looking for holiday sales on their medicated products but seasonal variety in the products offered,” said Peckham, who sells seasonal strains and other products during the holiday.

Allie Marconi, director of marketing for Arizona cultivator Copperstate Farms and accompanying dispensary brand Sol Flower, said the dispensary is taking a “simplistic approach” to deals, offering 30% off and buy-one-get-one deals storewide.

“When we look at past holidays, it can be really complex sometimes with all the promotions we’ve tried to stack,” said Marconi.

She reported that the company is particularly focused on Cyber Monday. Last year, the company’s four stores totaled roughly 800 online orders. With five stores this year, expectations are for 1,200-1,300 orders.

Marconi added a bit of advice for operators and consumers as the holiday season ramps into full gear: “Be kind to everybody during this time.”

Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward is a Brooklyn, NY-based freelance writer. He is the author of the book "Cannabis Jobs" (out October 2019). Bylines include Benzinga, High Times, Merry Jane, Weedmaps, PROHBTD, PotGuide, The Marijuana Times as well as several other publications, company blogs and live events.

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