It's almost Thanksgiving and you know what that means: going back home to get grilled by your extended family, reuniting with old friends, and maybe getting blackout drunk.
Whether you call it Drinksgiving or Blackout Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest drinking days of the year for college students, young adults, and almost all drinkers of any age. But over the last few years, the cannabis industry has been pushing for a greener option that can prevent you from being severely hungover at Thanksgiving dinner.
Cannabis retailers have dubbed Green Wednesday the Black Friday for weed lovers by offering major sales on flower, edibles, vape pens, and more on the day before Thanksgiving. The cannabis industry makes the case that it's the perfect opportunity to stock up on your products of choice on the assumption that young people will find it easier to answer invasive questions from grandma about their dating lives and eat a massive meal with the help of cannabis.
Making a new tradition that isn't focused on binge drinking
In addition to being a conveniently-timed shopping holiday, Green Wednesday — or Danksgiving as many are fond of calling it — promotes the idea that having a smoke sesh with friends could be a way better alternative to getting drunk. Molly Peckler, CEO of the cannabis matchmaking company Highly Devoted, thinks Green Wednesday is the superior tradition.
“My business is based on bringing people together using cannabis and it's just so incredibly powerful,” Peckler said. “It allows you to really be present in the moment, whereas when you're drinking or blacked out, sometimes everything gets foggy and you make decisions you wouldn't normally make or you feel terrible the next day.”
This is perhaps one of the strongest cases to be made for Green Wednesday. Binge drinking can be dangerous, so much so that several cities have increased patrols to keep people safe on Drinksgiving. Unfortunately, drunk driving is another result of this cultural trend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Drinksgiving and the remainder of the Thanksgiving break — from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Monday — produced the highest number of fatal car crashes of any holiday between 2012 and 2016, accounting for 800 drunk driving-related deaths.
Staying off the roads is one of the selling points for smoking with friends at home as opposed to hitting the bars. You'll avoid potentially making the poor choice to drive under the influence, and you'll steer clear of drunk drivers who may be on the roads that night.
Green Wednesday makes for good connections
Peckler believes that, along with being a safer option, having a holiday sesh helps friends and family bond in a more intimate and meaningful way.
“Cannabis really does facilitate connection,” Peckler explained. “I think a lot of people find camaraderie when they're drinking together, but when it gets to the point that you drank too much then the whole experience can be soured.”
As any regular cannabis consumer knows, there's something very intimate and nostalgic about smoking weed, ordering pizza, and laughing all night in your parents' basement. Plus, you won't run into anyone you don't feel like seeing at the bars (your ex won't be invited to the smoke sesh). It's the perfect way to catch up with your chosen family before spending the next day with your biological family.
Peckler also believes that Green Wednesday can be a great time to bond with your own family. “For me, 'Green Wednesday' means family time. I live in Los Angeles, and for Thanksgiving, I go back to Chicago to spend time with my family. For the last five to seven years we have created a really fun family tradition where we have a big family smoke sesh and then we play Cards Against Humanity ... It's one of my absolute favorite nights of the year and everyone in my family looks forward to it.”
For those of you who have not discussed cannabis with your families, Peckler suggests using the holiday as an opportunity to introduce them to it, “You can bring your favorite product and educate your parents or the people in your life who maybe aren't familiar with cannabis,” Peckler advised. “I would definitely say to start with strains that are lower in THC. If you want to do edibles bring [low-dosed] edibles so you can really help people dip their toes into the cannabis pool in a way that's not threatening.”
For those not sold on skipping Blackout Wednesday this holiday season, consider the pros: you're less likely to be as hungover and nauseated at the sight of food, and if you and your family smoke before eating, you'll probably enjoy the meal more. Your stress levels are likely to be lower and it will seem easier to have a good conversation with your extended family that you may only see a few times a year.
Peckler added, “I think that when you use cannabis you become more empathetic. You're a better listener, you're more open to other perspectives. And that's really beneficial when it comes to creating connections and making memories.”
Feature image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps