Here’s something getting a nice high from recreational marijuana: snack food sales.
Potato chip, cookie and ice cream sales all increased in Colorado, Oregon and Washington as recreational marijuana became legal in those states, according to a new study.
Specifically, chip sales increased 5.3 percent, while cookie sales climbed 4.1 percent and ice cream purchases increased 3.1 percent in the aftermath of legalization, professors from the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University determined using monthly retail scanner data from 2006 to 2016.
“The increase in sales starts at the time of the legislation becomes effective,” said the findings, published in Social Science Research Network. Afterward, the snacking spurt decreased slightly for ice cream and chips, but not for cookies, according to the results.
Colorado and Washington voters opted to legalize recreational use in 2012. Oregon’s recreational use became legal in 2015.
“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 study noted scientists have theories on the neuroscience behind the cannabis-induced cravings, but the phenomenon’s inner workings are still not known.
“A widespread urban myth is that marijuana consumption is associated with the so-called munchies, namely an irresistible urge to consume large amounts of snack or junk food, such as ice cream, cookies, candies and the like,” the researchers wrote.
The study didn’t specify which brands had a boost in sales.
Fast food and snack product giants like Yum! Brands, Frito-Lay and McDonald’s could not be immediately reached for comment. SNAC International, a snack food industry trade association, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.