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The Munchies Effect: Candy, Snack Sales Going Up Where Marijuana Is Legal

Surprise, surprise. A study finds that snacking is most popular in weed-friendly states.

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One of the most famous side effects of using marijuana is getting the munchies. To the surprise of exactly zero people, a new study has found that sales of munchie favorites such as snack food and candy have increased in states where marijuana is legal.

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The study, conducted by Nielsen, found that over the course of 52 weeks, snack and candy sales increased across the United States. But the increase was greater in legal states.

According to Nielsen, “Marijuana consumption has been clinically and anecdotally shown to increase a consumers’ appetite and enjoyment of food. Sales data from within the U.S. Census divisions where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use support the munchies’ effect.” 

Related: Cannabis Lounges Are Popping Up Across the Country

Snackable content

The Nielsen study looked at the amount of salty and sweet snacks sold in the United States for the year that ended April 27. 

The main findings were as follows.

  • Confectionery sales grew by 2 percent in the states where cannabis is legal, but only 1.3 percent in states where marijuana is not legal
  • Overall snack sales increased by 7.2 percent in states where cannabis is legal, and 6% in states where cannabis is not legal.

The Nielsen reports states that “for manufacturers and retailers, American consumers’ hunger for snacks alongside legal cannabis consumption can present an opportunity for cross-selling.”

They also note that cannabis companies that specialize in edible hemp-based CBD products also could see a rise in use.

Related: Microdosing Is How You Learn How Much CBD You Should You Be Taking

United Snacks of America

While the findings are no surprise given the impact of marijuana on food cravings, it’s also part of an overall surge in American snacking habits. 

A study from a few years ago set the stage for where we are as a country vis-a-vis snacking. The study found that 94% of Americans snack at least once a day.

But now, it’s even more of a common occurrence. A study from the research firm NPD Group, cited in USA Today, found that Americans bought 386 billion ready-to-eat snacks in 2018. The study also found that many people are not eating “three large meals” every day but are instead replacing meals with snacking. “I work, I’m busy, Sometimes, it’s easier to get snacks,” one person told USA Today.

Throw marijuana on top of that lifestyle and it’s no wonder snack sales are through the roof. As noted by Nielsen: “America is a nation of snackers. The increased legalization of cannabis in the U.S. presents big opportunities for the American food and beverage market—particularly for the snack and confectionery category.”

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