The truth about Green Wednesday

Cannabis retailers across the country are gearing up for a surge in customers on what’s become known as Green Wednesday — the day before Thanksgiving. Due to consumers stocking up on munchies-inducing treats before the ultimate food holiday, Green Wednesday now rivals Black Friday as the second-busiest sales day for the industry — after 4/20, of course.

“It’s really fun for the industry to have their own sales holiday,” said Lisa Gee, director of marketing and corporate social responsibility at Denver-based Lightshade. “We look at this as an opportunity to offer up good bargains and deals to our customers and patients. Hopefully, they’re ready to come into the store, order online or even test out the drive-through.”

It’s not just hype. BDSA reports that they historically see a 40% spike in cannabis sales the day before Thanksgiving. This is smaller than the Black Friday sales spike (typically 50-60%), but it’s enough to make retailers scramble. And as the pandemic continues to increase demand for cannabis, essential businesses are gearing up for an even busier Green Wednesday this year. 

Chicago-based Cannabis entrepreneur Joe Caltabiano said that consumers have already adapted to online shopping and curbside pickup and delivery — a trend he expects to see continue on Green Wednesday. 

“We’re also seeing some retailers encourage safe behavior by incentivizing online ordering through special discounts or deals,” he said. “In turn, these savings could help drive larger basket sizes as consumers stock up and limit time spent inside retail establishments.”

Like Black Friday, Green Wednesday requires significant advance planning. Camille Roistacher, CEO of Los Angeles-based Voyage Distribution, said the frequency and size of the orders from retailers has increased in recent weeks as stores ramp up for an uptick in pre-Thanksgiving sales. Voyage is requiring retailers to place their orders by Tuesday so they can be in stores by Wednesday. 

Green Dot Labs, a Colorado-based cultivation and extraction business, collaborates closely with its internal team and retail partners to develop a promotional and marketing plan several months in advance of the holiday, said Alana Malone, the company’s CEO. 

“Once we’ve identified our promotional framework and product features, we roll that plan out with our retail partners to ensure that we’re well-prepared to support increased demand around the Thanksgiving holiday selling period,” Malone said.

Last year on Green Wednesday, beverages, edibles, and vape pens showed gains in popularity. Voyage’s Roistacher anticipates that beverages will be even more popular this year due to the growing number of cannacurious consumers who are put off by smoking. “This gives them a nice delivery in a beverage they can drink throughout the evening,” she said. 

But plenty of consumers are sticking with the classics. LeafLink, a B2B e-commerce wholesale marketplace that connects retailers and brands, saw sales increase by 5.45% during the past two weeks. The most popular product category was flower, which made up 31.2% of market share. Disposable cartridges and pre-rolls saw the biggest sales lifts, at 29% and 44%, respectively.

Not everyone is anticipating a Green Wednesday rush, however. Joe Hodas, chief marketing officer for Colorado-based edibles maker Wana Brands, said his sales force expects cannabis consumers to follow the tradition of seeking out deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some of the dispensaries that sell Wana Brands are offering deals on the company’s products. Maggie’s Farm, for example, is discounting Wana Brands products at its Colorado dispensaries by 25% over Thanksgiving weekend, and California-based Caliva is offering a buy-one-get-one for 50% off. 

While Wana is in constant production mode and always has excess inventory, it still is increasing production as the holiday season approaches, Hodas said. 

“People tend to consume more cannabis at the holidays,” he said. “We’re always ready for that from a production standpoint.”

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