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Holiday Weekends and Cannabis
The Friday-Sunday period that fell during the long July 4th weekend was the second busiest sales weekend of the year in 2016 in Colorado, behind the Friday-Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

Last Monday we examined 4/2o in terms of sales, and compared it to Labor Day Weekend. While the days surrounding the much-trumpeted 4/20 last year in Colorado were big sales events, and the two weekends bookending the holiday represented excellent sales boosts, Labor Day Weekend was the year’s biggest sales weekend.

That data work by BDS Analytics, one of the cannabis industry’s leading sources of retail sales and consumer data, to look more broadly at weekends in general, which week after week bump sales compared to the rest of the week, especially Friday and Saturday. In addition, we studied holiday weekends. During 2016, most holidays happened to include weekends — even Valentine’s Day. We probed Washington and Colorado; since Oregon only began selling products other than flower at recreational stores in June of 2016, and experienced regulatory problems in the fall that impacted sales, we did not include the state in our research.

Interestingly, cannabis sales in Washington do not seem especially influenced by holidays. When we compare the weekends bookending holiday weekends in Washington, we find mild boosts (and in some cases, no increases at all) in sales numbers during the holiday weekends.

But things are much different in Colorado.

Labor Day Weekend (between Friday and Sunday) was, by far, the leading weekend of the year in Colorado, with $17.32 million in sales between Friday and Sunday. The data does not explain why sales were so high during that weekend, but some industry experts point towards a series of Phish concerts in Denver that have taken place during Labor Day weekend for several years. The spike in Colorado last year was dramatic — the weekend before Labor Day saw $13.07 million in sales, and the weekend after generated $12.86 million.

The next biggest sales weekend last year in Colorado was July 4th weekend (the Fourth fell on a Monday), when sales from Friday through Sunday hit $14.73 million. The weekend before, sales were $11.93 million and the weekend after, $13.06 million.

The Friday-Sunday period of New Year’s Eve weekend experienced a healthy boost compared to the weekends bookending the holiday.

Another holiday weekend that experienced a bump last year (and this year, as Jan. 1 was a Sunday) was New Year’s Eve, when sales between Friday and Sunday hit $13.04 million. The weekend before, Christmas weekend, only saw $9.2 million in sales. Christmas was on a Sunday last year, though, so most stores were closed — Christmas Day itself only saw $560,756 in sales, but December 24 hit $3.5 million. The weekend after New Year’s Eve? $10.72 million.

You might think Halloween weekend (last year the holiday was on a Monday) would register as a cannabis bonanza — but think again. Last year, the weekend before Halloween saw $12.54 million in sales, while Halloween weekend dipped to $12.2 million.

Valentine’s Day weekend (Friday through Sunday; the holiday was on the Sunday) performed well last year compared to the weekends surrounding the holiday.

Thanksgiving weekend (again, just Friday through Sunday) did not stand out from the weekends bracketing the holiday, and neither (surprisingly) did Memorial Day. But Valentine’s Day is another matter. The weekend saw $11.25 million in sales, compared to $10.43 million the weekend before and $10.87 the weekend after.

Roses, champagne toasts, chocolate and cannabis. Sounds like a great Valentine’s Day to us.

Doug Brown

Doug Brown

Douglas Brown spent more than two decades in newspaper and magazine newsrooms around the country, covering everything from the White House and Capitol Hill to technology policy to crime in New Mexico. Now, he runs Contact High Communications, a leading cannabis public relations firm based in Boulder, CO. He can be reached at

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