OAKLAND, California. – In the weeks leading up to November, Iashia Kilian felt her fear deepen.
She knew her vote could help decide who would be the next president in Swing, Michigan. She had done everything possible to promote the candidate of her choice. All she could do now was sit back, wait, and make sure she had her favorite marijuana foods on hand.
“The panic, the fearful feelings, everything was too much. I knew I would only make it with a little help, ”said Ms. Kilian, 43, who lives in Center Line. “I used to be the kind of person who judged someone, especially a mom like me who took groceries. But, you know what? Everything that happens here in this country is just too much. People need help. "
For many people in the United States, help came in the form of gummy bears, cookies, chocolates, and gelcaps, all of which were infused with a dose of cannabis calibrated to relieve jitter on Election Day. While nationwide sales information is hard to come by, companies that specialize in groceries said sales increased in the weeks leading up to the election.
Edibles are no longer just sold for pot brownies in a dormitory, but are sold as part of the wellness industry and marketed as a pantry staple. Or, as a Facebook group recently boasted, there is now an edible for every type of fear.
National polls and elections show that Americans are increasingly interested in legalizing marijuana use. According to Gallup polls, support for legalization rose from 12 percent in 1969 to 31 percent in 2000 and 66 percent in 2019. On November 3, voters in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona added their states to the eleven Adding another that had legalized recreational marijuana. Mississippi and South Dakota have legalized medical marijuana, increasing that number to 35.
Election Day means legal marijuana sales will soon reach a third of Americans, expanding a market that was already seeing booming sales during the pandemic.
On Facebook groups devoted to food, people shared recipes to ease the jitter on election day. Biden Brownie Bites and Trump Truffles were two dessert recipes, along with a note that no matter which side of the partisan difference people fell on, they could probably use an edible to get them through the wait while the ballots were counted.
Even as the news channel announced on Saturday that Joseph R. Biden Jr. was the president-elect, many people said they remained concerned about the court vote battles and uncertainty over President Trump's change of power.
"There was the pandemic and then the summer with all of the social justice issues and now the election stress," said Coco Meers, co-founder and chief executive officer of Equilibria, a women-focused Chicago company that specializes in CBD-derived compound. "It's been uninterrupted and has created extraordinary demand for cannabis."
Her sales are up over 40 percent in the last month from the previous months, with no marketing or advertising, Ms. Meers said. Demand for CBD gel capsules has grown, along with a concierge service to help Equilibria's customers decide how much, how often, and what time of day to take the capsules.
"It will definitely be normalized," said Ms. Meers. “We see grandmothers who never thought they were open to cannabis calling us. Mother groups discuss it openly. It has just become an accepted thing to help people with anxiety. "
In New York, Doug Cohen and his business partner, Miguel Trinidad, a chef, started a multi-course marijuana dining experience last year that typically costs $ 150 per person. During the pandemic, they switched from meals to cooking classes, helping clients experiment with new methods of frying, frying, frying, and baking marijuana at home. The demand for home grocery cooking classes skyrocketed as the choice neared.
"I would say we've had three or four times as many people asking for help in the past few weeks," said Cohen.
The products that are cooked at home are less complicated than the marijuana-infused spicy Sichuan noodles or seared Japanese Wagyu beef that the company may serve at dinner. One of the main requests is cherry-chili-chocolate-cannabis ice cream.
“Eating as a concept is so much less scary than smoking. It feels easier and can be part of your routine, ”Cohen said. “If it tastes good and also helps calm your anxiety, it's a win-win situation.
He added that many customers became more interested in marijuana foods because they wanted to save their lung damage from smoking during the pandemic.
Nov. 11, 2020, 11:06 p.m. ET
Health professionals largely agree that food appears to be safer than smoking or vaping, but note that there is some risk in them. The psychoactive effects of food can last for hours, causing people to over-consume a gummy bear or chocolate when impatient.
Daria Carmon, 39, said groceries had become part of her daily routine before the choice.
"It's too tense, it's too busy and people need to take care of themselves," said Ms. Carmon, who lives in Brooklyn. She added that normalizing foods resulted in people openly sharing and discussing what dosages, brands, and types worked best for them.
For example, she learned that her food “doesn't have to be too tasty”.
"I had to stop buying those salted caramels because they were too tasty and I feared I would go overboard," said Ms. Carmon. “You can see a situation where you are watching and snacking on election results, and the most delicious thing in your house is your edible too. Not good."
In Michigan, Ms. Kilian said groceries had helped her overcome the stress of waiting for election results as she watched the number of people infected with coronavirus in the United States rise every day and homeschooled her son.
On election night, she stayed up until 3 a.m. and watched the voting results slowly arrive.
"I had every news channel on – NBC, Fox, CNN," Ms. Kilian said. "I listened to everyone and they didn't say anything. If I hadn't had my edible I would have been stressed. The way it was, I felt a bit of stress, but I also felt calm. I knew I could wait and find out who won. "
Days later, she was glad that she had the foresight to stock up on her favorite foods.
"Shops are sold out – people are stressed," she said. "People need their medicine."