Cannabis enthusiasts who prefer eating to smoking their weed have many choices now. But it wasn’t long ago that, for the most part, they had to make their own munchies-slayers. Prior to legalization, that meant crafting a homemade butter or oil, and then incorporating the pot-filled fat into a baked good of some kind. People made mountains of brownies, as well as hillocks of cookies and other similar treats.
Times have changed in states with legal cannabis sales. Hazelnut truffles, watermelon gummies, pills, mugs of coffee, bags of popcorn, beef jerky — consumers’ suite of edible choices seems to expand by the quarter in states with legal cannabis sales. And in pot-friendly states the edibles of yore — the brownies and cookies and so on — have dipped in popularity, losing ground to candy and chocolates, as well as to things like tinctures.
But that doesn’t mean old-school edibles went away — in fact, all states with adult-use regimes support brands that use batters, doughs and ovens to manufacture products.
What kinds of baked products do consumers in different states choose to … get baked?
We often turn to Colorado as a baseline for cannabis trends — the state was the first to legalize recreational cannabis, so trends today are the result of years of evolution And its regulatory system is a model of efficiency.
The baked-goods slice of the Colorado edibles cannabis pie was 6 percent during the first three months of this year, and consumers divided their purchases fairly evenly between cookies and brownies according to cannabis market research firm BDS Analytics. Of the top 20 individual proucts on shelves, eight were cookies and seven brownies. The $3.21 million in sales during the period represent a decline compared to the same period last year by 19 percent. Compare these baked-goods numbers to just one type of candy, gummies: Coloradans dropped $22 million on the sweet-and-sour confections during the same period.
Market share for baked goods in Oregon is even smaller, at 2.5 percent of all edibles for the first four months of this year. But sales of baked goods in Oregon are on the rise, up 5 percent over last year during the same period. Oregonians like cookies and brownies, just like Coloradans: the top 20 products included five brownies and five cookies. But Oregonians are even crazier for cakes — seven cake products dwell in the top 20. Sales of cake products in Colorado didn’t crack the top 20.
And then there is California, also known as the Kingdom of Cookies. First of all, Californians embrace baked goods in general with more ardor than the other states. Sales of baked goods reached 12 percent of the edibles marketplace from January through April of this year, which is double the market share in Colorado (and five times the share in Oregon). But while consumers in other states savor different goodies — largely divided between cookies, brownies and cakes — for Californians it’s all about the cookie. Of the top 20 products, 13 were cookie products. Baked bars made two appearances and the rest were scattered.
Getting baked now in weed-happy states involves myriad routes — including good old-fashioned baking.