The cannabis industry took in a lot of green on Saint Patrick’s Day, in part because of the holiday, and in part due to stimulus checks being distributed to American’s accounts at the same time.
Data from Akerna, which owns a cloud-based, seed-to-sale tracking platform called MJ Freeway, found that March 17, 2021, had the highest cannabis sales so far this year. Dispensaries across the country showed a total of over $89,000,000 in sales, 50% higher than the average sales on Wednesdays this year. From Wednesday to Friday, March 17 to 19, cannabis sales totaled over $230,000,000 nationwide.
Akerna’s Flash Report looked at data across the entire legal U.S. market – both recreational and medical storefronts. These numbers reflect a pattern. Cannabis sales also saw a 63% uptick when the last round of stimulus checks were distributed in April of 2020. The IRS says over 30 million stimulus checks have been sent this round, most via direct deposit which arrived March 17. The rest arrived via mail or debit card.
“I was astounded at the sales figures,” says Jessica Billingsley, CEO of Akerna. Billingsley founded Akerna in 2010, and today MJ Freeway is utilized by over 2,000 cannabis businesses nationwide and more internationally. “Historically, we have seen no large bumps or changes on Saint Patrick’s Day, but we did see jumps in sales last spring amid the first stimulus check payments. Because of that, I expected to see an increase in sales from these larger checks but certainly did not expect to see this year’s largest sales day.”
The data from MJ Freeway shows additional upticks in sales on the two days following the stimulus check— 23% increase over prior Thursdays and Friday, March 19, had an 8% increase over previous Fridays. Saint Patrick’s Day has historically been a drinker’s holiday. Alcohol sales around the week leading up to it are massive — Wallethub estimated $6.16 billion was spent on booze for the holiday (those are pre-COVID estimates).
March precedes the cannabis industry’s most boisterous sales holiday, 4/20, which lies just around the corner in April. Billingsley looks forward to seeing those numbers: “With 4/20 less than a month away, we’re predicting another record-breaking day and look forward to sharing those analytics to help cannabis businesses further understand their consumers.”
The report also broke down which types of cannabis products were selling the highest around Saint Patrick’s Day and following the arrival of stimulus checks. Flower saw the largest increase and was the most popular product with a 45% uptick in sales, followed by vape cartridges which increased 32% in sales. Concentrates were more popular than an average Wednesday by 13%, and edibles jumped up 8%.
According to the report’s demographics, those celebrating the holiday with cannabis skewed male-dominant: 60.2% male, and 39.8% female were represented in the total sales. By age group, those spending the most were the 30 to 41 age with 31%, followed closely by the under 30 age demographic with 28%. 4o to 50-year-olds represented 20%, 50 to 60 represented 12 percent, and over 60 still represented a sizable chunk of sales at 9%.