Snack Sales Rise When Cannabis Is Legalised

According to surveys, people prefer consuming cannabis-infused snacks

Legal cannabis appears to have triggered a munchies epidemic in places that sell recreational cannabis. Apparently, cannabis users are consuming more cannabis-infused candies and snacks than people who live in areas where the drug is prohibited.

According to recent Nielsen data, sales of salty and sweet cannabis snacks have increased over the past year, ending on April 27 of this year. Also, data shows that sales of both cannabis candies and snacks are rising faster in areas where cannabis is legal.

This credible data shows that that candy sales grew by two percent in the U.S. (United States) states where cannabis is legal as compared to 1.3 percent in states where the drug remained illegal. The sales of cannabis snacks increased by 7.2 percent in the U.S. states where cannabis has been legalized, compared to 6 percent in illegal cannabis states. Overall, the sales of salty snacks had reached $29.9 billion, and sweet snacks witnessed the sales of $6.5 billion.

Cannabis snack sales growth after legalization. Source

Rachel Kelsey, co-owner of Cutty’s, a lunch spot, says that they are noticing more foot traffic. Hilary Talbot, manager of Haymarket Cafe in Northampton, says she has customers who come to her with bags and they often order cannabis-infused cheesecakes, salad, smoothies or a wrap. These customers include people who work in other cannabis shop or are into cannabis businesses.

Over the last year, another U.S. state’s legislature -- in Illinois, this time around --  approved the use of cannabis for recreational purposes for adults, with sales of cannabis-infused products expected to begin on January 1, 2020. With this state soon entering the mix, recreational cannabis will be legal in 11 U.S. states as well as in Washington, D.C., despite the fact that it is still an illegal drug on the federal level.



Safety concerns surrounding cannabis-infused snacks

In the first quarter of 2014, when Colorado legalized the sales of recreational cannabis, edibles made up 30 percent of legal sales, which grew to 45 percent by the third quarter of 2016.

Manufacturers of cannabis snacks create these edibles with varying levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active and primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

Cannabis products shaped like candy causes a concern related to child safety as children can accidentally ingest them. They may mistake these products for regular delicious food, as they most often don’t read the labels and markings that indicate THC content in the product. Even if kids do read these labels, they don’t understand what the information on them actually means.

A recent study examined accidental exposure to cannabis among children who received treatment at a children’s hospital in Colorado between 2009 and 2015. In the same year, the drug became legal for recreational use to be sold statewide. The results of this study revealed a five-fold growth in the number of children under 10 who accidentally consumed cannabis edibles -- from nine cases in 2009 to 47 cases in 2015.

Edibles were implicated in more than half of the cannabis exposures, which included baked goods, snacks, candy, and popcorn products. Even teens may accidentally ingest cannabis edibles. In most of such cases, the concern is that teens often offer edibles to their peers while hiding what is in the product.



Final words -- The current state of cannabis in Australia

The legal framework for the medicinal use of cannabis in Australia is evolving. At the same time, this framework remains highly restricted, but for patients, the numbers are on the up.

In Australia’s capital, the ACT Legislative Assembly considered decriminalizing the possession of below 50 grams of cannabis.

After the Therapeutic Goods Administration streamlined and eased the application process for medicinal cannabis patients in 2018, the cannabis industry in Australia is preparing for a boom. At the end of 2017, there were around 158 approved medicinal cannabis patients in Australia. By the end of January in 2019, there were 2,800, according to TGA figures.

Recreational cannabis is yet to be legal in Australia and may take one or two years, maybe even more. At that time, cannabis snacks may also be available on the Australian market.