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Marijuana Legalization Increases Junk Food Sales

Marijuana Legalization Increases Junk Food Sales
PHOTO Ken Walton


Marijuana Legalization Increases Junk Food Sales

Study shows cannabis legalization causes an uptick in the munchies.

It has been known for decades, mostly by the people with hands-on experience in the cannabis culture, that the most glorious, and the sometimes ruthless side effect of getting high is catching a mean case of the marijuana munchies.

For those who have been there, which, if you are reading this, we’re assuming you’re part of the club, the insatiable appetite that often comes bearing down on one’s stomach after a casual love affair with fat sack of the good stuff (insert your favorite strain here) has the power to lay to waste refrigerators and kitchens cabinets in ways that have not been seen since the last season on “My 600-LB Life.”

What we’re trying to say here is marijuana can turn even the most disciplined human into a feral animal and set them on course for a wild-eyed feeding frenzy to beat the band. And when this happens, all of those healthy foods — the kale salad, the tofu suppers — people eat to maintain their dashing figure gets cast aside by the devilish junk food junkie that lives in every single one of us.


But if it’s any solace to those of you who wake up regularly drenched in guilt after your stoned brain convinces you to consume a half gallon of ice cream and an entire package of cookies before bed, a new study suggests that this naughty, waist-busting behavior is stimulating the economy in sweet, sweet ways.

It seems researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University have found an unexpected result of statewide marijuana legalization. They say allowing adults to purchase weed in a manner similar to booze has led to a bit of an increase in junk food sales. Seriously, these scientists, who apparently have nothing better to do with their days, noticed that the sale of potato chips, cookies and ice cream have experienced an uptick over the past decade in the first three states (Colorado, Oregon and Washington) to legalize the leaf for recreational use.

Coincidence? Probably not.

The study, which was published in the journal Social Science Research Network, finds that junk food starts flying off the shelves as soon as legalization take hold.

“The increase in sales starts at the time of the legislation becomes effective,” researchers explained.  

Although cannabis culture 2.0 has worked very hard over the years to disconnect from stoner stereotypes —mostly renouncing the burned out behaviors, fashion, and even the language that once made the scene a hell of a lot of fun — it appears it cannot escape the Jekyll and Hyde effects the herb has when it comes to snacking.

Sure, there are those users with enough patience and will power to carve up a piece of fruit instead of diving head first into high-carb, high sugar, high preservatives garbage cuisine that has been proven to pack on the pounds and cause serious health issues. But plenty of cannabis enthusiasts are still opting for the old standbys to curb their munchie cravings. For example: In legal states, chip sales went up by 5.3 percent, cookie sales saw a 4.1 percent increase and ice cream, well, the popular dairy sustenance of the gods, experienced a post-legalization increase of 3.1 percent.

“These might seem like small numbers,” said University of Connecticut assistant professor of economics Michele Baggio. “But they’re statistically significant and economically significant as well.”

The downside to this phenomenon is that a diet consisting of these kinds of junk foods is not exactly consistent with the wellness attitude that is often touted in modern cannabis culture. Consuming marijuana as an alternative to booze and even prescription drugs is sort of a bust if all a person is going to do is dump high-calorie trash down their gullets whenever the munchies kick in.

Hey, we’re not trying to preach here, we’re just saying that the uprising of the healthy cannabis consumer could eventually be exposed as a con once more users start dropping dead from heart attacks, diabetes and cancer in legal jurisdictions. It’s a situation where we can just sit back and wait and see how it all shakes out or, and this is probably the best option, learn how to attack those cravings before they spiral out of control. Cannabis Now has some pro tips on the subject right here. You’re welcome.

Good luck!

TELL US, what’s your go to munchies snack?

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