It turns out legal marijuana is great for candy and snack companies — even if they aren’t making edibles. 

New data released by Nielsen shows that confectionery dollar sales increased 2 percent in the parts of the U.S. where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use, compared to just a 1.3 percent increase seen in areas where cannabis is not legal. And when it comes to snack sales, those increased 7.2 percent in areas where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use, compared to 6 percent in the areas where it is not legal. 

Apparently, the munchies are very real, and potentially very profit-driving.

“Marijuana consumption has been clinically and anecdotally shown to increase a consumers’ appetite and enjoyment of food,” Nielsen says. “And sales data from within the U.S. Census divisions where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use supports the 'munchies’ effect. Nielsen data shows that growth rates for both candy and snacks are rising faster in these areas than in geographies where cannabis has yet to be legalized for recreational use.”

So while many confectionery companies have been reluctant to even address cannabis legalization, the data shows they should, in fact, be rooting for it. 

Yes, recreational cannabis products are still illegal at the federal level, but with Illinois soon entering the mix, cannabis will be legal in 11 states, Washington D.C. and Canada.

Many confectionery companies already market wine and chocolate selections. It’s not a leap to think that candy makers would be wise to start suggesting confectionery pairings for cannabis as well. Does Sativa go well with a particular sour gummy? Should people pair Indica with a salted caramel? 

It’s all about the cross cannabis promotion, after all.