From new marijuana strains for the holidays to gift sets and pot-and-pumpkin pies, the marijuana industry in Colorado is scrambling to get a piece of the holiday shopping dollar. Dispensaries in many states have been offering holiday specials for medical customers for years - but this first season of open-to-all-adults marijuana sales in some states means pot shops are using more of the tricks used by traditional retailers to attract holiday shoppers.
Here's a look at how the new recreational marijuana industry is trying to attract holiday shoppers:
retailers sell some items below cost to drive traffic and attract
sales. Recreational marijuana retailers are doing the same.
Grass Station in Denver is selling an ounce of marijuana for $50 - about
a fifth of the cost of the next-cheapest strain at the Colorado
dispensary - to the first 16 customers in line Friday, Saturday and
Sunday. That works out to less than $1 a joint for the ambitious
early-rising pot shopper. Owner Ryan Fox says his Black Friday pot is
decent quality, and says he's selling below cost to attract attention
and pick up some new customers. As Colorado dispensaries approach a year
of being able to sell weed to all adults over 21, not just
card-carrying medical patients, Fox says retailers have to do more than
just sell pot to get public attention.
Pot shops are using old
and new media to tout the sales. One dispensary is taking out a
full-page "Happy Danksgiving" ad in The Denver Post and is inviting
shoppers to text a code for extra savings.
VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS
and marijuana seem to go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Many dispensaries this time of year resemble a Starbucks at the mall,
with holiday spices and festive music in the air. One of the state's
largest edible-pot makers, Sweet Grass Kitchen, debuted a new miniature
pumpkin pie that delivers about as much punch as a medium-sized joint.
The pie joins holiday-spiced teas, minty pot confections and
cannabis-infused honey oil for those who want to bake their own pot
goodies at home. Even some edibles makers that specialize in savory
foods, not sweets, are putting out some sugary items for the holidays.
are angling for high-end holiday shoppers, not an increase in foot
traffic. Colorado Harvest and Evergreen Apothecary timed the release of
some top-shelf strains of potent pot for the holiday season.
holiday shopper doesn't appreciate free gift wrapping? Or a gift set
ready to pop under the tree? The Growing Kitchen is making $49.99 gift
sets for both the medical and recreational pot user. The sets include
the edible-pot maker's new Mighty Mint cookie, a pot-infused confection
new for the holiday shopping season, along with marijuana-infused salves
for muscles sore from the ski slopes. Other dispensaries are offering
free gift totes and stockings with purchases.
the shopper who wants to give pot but doesn't know how the recipient
likes to get high, Colorado's 300 or so recreational dispensaries so far
have been able to issue only handwritten gift certificates. That's
because banking regulations prohibit major credit cards companies from
being able to back marijuana-related gift cards the way they do for
Just this month, a Colorado company started
offering pot shops a branded gift card they can sell just like other
retailers. The cards are in eight Denver dispensaries so far, and coming
soon will be loyalty cards similar to grocery-store loyalty cards that
track purchases and can be used to suggest sales or new products to
CANNAGIFTS FOR THE MAIL
marijuana can't legally leave Colorado doesn't mean dispensaries don't
have items for out-of-state friends and family. Some dispensaries are
highlighting some non-cannabis gift items - things like T-shirts,
rolling papers and lotions made with legal herbs. The sets are for
shoppers who want to give a taste of Colorado's new marijuana industry
without breaking federal law by mailing it or taking it out of state.
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