OAKLAND, California– In the weeks leading up to November, Iashia Kilian felt her anxiety escalate.
She knew her vote in the swing state of Michigan could help decide who the next president would be. She had done all she could to help campaign for the candidate of her choice. Now all she could do was sit back, wait, and make sure she had her favorite marijuana edibles on hand.
“The panic, the anxious feelings are too much. I knew I was going to get by with a little help, ”said Ms. Kilian, 43, who lives at Center Line. “I was the kind of person who judged someone, especially a mother like me, who took edibles. But you know what? Everything that is happening here in this country is just too much. People need help.”
For many in the United States, help has come in the form of gelatin bears, cookies, chocolates, and capsules, all infused with a dose of cannabis calibrated to quell Election Day nervousness. . Although nationwide sales information is hard to come by, edible companies said sales soared in the weeks leading up to the election.
It’s no longer a fringe item limited to potted brownies in a college dormitory, edibles 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 anxiety.
National surveys and elections show that Americans are increasingly interested in legalizing the use of marijuana. Support for legalization rose from 12% in 1969 to 31% in 2000 and 66% in 2019, according to Gallup polls. And on November 3, voters in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, and Arizona added their states to the 11 others that had legalized recreational marijuana. Mississippi and South Dakota have made medical marijuana legal, and allow medical patients to buy weed online.
The election day sweep means legal marijuana sales will soon reach a third of Americans, expanding an already booming market during the pandemic.
In Facebook groups dedicated to edibles, people shared recipes to help calm election day nervousness. Biden Brownie Bites and Trump Truffles were two dessert recipes featured, with a note that whatever side of the partisan divide people fell on, they could probably use an edible to help them get through the wait while the ballots were counted.
Even as news networks said on Saturday that Joseph R. Biden Jr. was the president-elect, many people said they remained worried about the vote count battles that made their way through the courts and uncertainty over President Trump’s transition of power.
“There was the pandemic, then the summer with all the social justice issues, and now the election stress,” said Coco Meers, co-founder, and CEO of Equilibria, a women-focused company in Chicago and specializing in CBD, a compound derived from hemp. “It hasn’t stopped and has led to an extraordinary demand for cannabis.”
Its sales in the past month have grown by more than 40% from previous months, with no marketing or promotions, Ms. Meers said. Demand for thc vape oil has skyrocketed, as has a concierge service that helps Equilibria customers decide how much to take, how often, and what time of day the capsules are best to ingest.
“It’s normalizing itself,” Ms. Meers said. “We are seeing grandmothers who never thought they would be open to cannabis calling us. Mother groups discuss it openly. It has just become a recognized thing to help people with anxiety.
In New York City, Doug Cohen and his business partner, Miguel Trinidad, a chef, started a multi-course marijuana dining experience last year, typically costing $150 per person. During the pandemic, they’ve gone from meals to cooking classes, helping patrons experiment with new ways to sauté, sear, broil and bake with marijuana at home. Demand for home edibles cooking classes has skyrocketed as the election approaches.