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Monday November 23, 2020

By Matthew Mongelia

420 Culture

This Thanksgiving promises to be unlike any other. A confluence of events makes it the perfect storm for all kinds of strange holiday happenings. What topics might be held around the table? We’ve got a global pandemic, newly approved weed laws all over, and oh, we heard it’s an election year? Criminal justice reform, vaccines, forest fires, hurricanes, an impending senate runoff, murder hornets, UFOs, roaming alligators, and the loss of Alex Trebek… 

We haven’t quite reached a dogs-and-cats-living-together level of mass hysteria, but in 2020, any Madlib sentence seems like a possible reality. Thank goodness for cannabis! There’s clearly a lot going on this turkey season, so we thought we’d sit down with a plate and take a look at where we find ourselves on the national day of giving thanks. 

Thanksgiving and Marijuana

Let’s put it all on the table, is there any holiday (outside of 4/20) more commonly associated with weed than Thanksgiving? By now, it’s almost a nostalgic scene for many: taking a walk around the neighborhood with the “cool” family members and a joint to get some appetite stimulation going; the parade of red-eyed relatives sitting down at the table. Lying to grandma about the smell… Good times!

Cannabis and thanksgiving are a logical pairing: weed and food have a timeless relationship, and if there’s one holiday that the food takes center stage, it’s T-gives. There’s typically a big fall cannabis harvest from the summer grow season, so supply and moods are at an all-time high, and of course, we can all appreciate taking the edge off around family. 

Thanksgiving meal
Getting high before the Thanksgiving feast is tradition for many cannabis consumers. photo credit

In 2020, weed-wise, there’s a lot to give thanks for, too. The slew of legalization of course, as mentioned, but so much more has transpired this year. Established markets have adapted to COVID measures and in some places, even expanded. Missouri, Vermont, and Virginia all took steps forward in their respective medical and recreational markets. There’s a vote to federally decriminalize approaching the House of Representatives, and with a new administration looming, it appears it may finally have some chance of passing.

Like its colloquial nickname, this year cannabis has proven it can thrive in the harshest conditions. As evidenced by states like Montana and South Dakota legalizing, more and more, cannabis is becoming a bipartisan issue that the majority of Americans agree on. Especially when they can’t agree on anything else. That alone is something to give thanks for.

Thanksgiving During COVID-19 and Social Distancing

As most have heard by now, the advice going out across the nation is that this year, if families are gathering, they should opt to do it virtually, or as spaced as possible in the smallest of groups. In the midst of a severe COVID outbreak and a hard winter ahead, it’s best to not congregate breathing each other’s air. It’s also not a great idea to travel, not only for the higher risk of exposure but also to keep local outbreaks from spreading to other communities. Supermarkets will be packed, so folks will need to plan ahead to avoid congestion (both figuratively and literally). 

Unfortunately, many of the major Thanksgiving traditions are prime circumstances for infection and spread.

Time around family and friends is also often when we turn to sharing cannabis the most, whether to soothe or celebrate, which can create even more risk of transmission. Joints and bongs are shared. Edibles are nibbled and passed. Whatever normal barriers of personal space we enjoy are likely to be softened or ignored around relatives and close friends. At a time when social distancing is crucial, Thanksgiving is a holiday designed around doing the exact opposite.

Thanksgiving, COVID, Weed and Social Distancing

How does one best maneuver this crazy landscape? The best catchall answer is: stay smart, stay safe, and get creative. Just as we’ve done for birthdays, graduations, weddings, baby showers, and everything else celebratory this year, with some ingenuity, you can always pull off a party. It may not be an exact substitute for our normal festivities, but that doesn’t mean distanced holidays need to be any less meaningful or genuine.

This thanksgiving offers some unique silver linings to enjoy, and methods to even improve on the typical Thanksgiving. Here are just a few to consider:

Virtual Smoke Sessions

Who needs to duck down to the basement or around the block when you’re in the comfort of your own home? You can hide your holiday smoking from disapproving relatives with ease, or zoom call grandma to join in! When your holiday sesh is virtual, you can tailor it to your needs.

Get the Whole Gang Together

You know what a lot of us won’t miss this year? Flying during the holidays. No endless TSA line, no mad dash to make it to your gate. Goodbye, red-eye flights and screaming infants. Save it for after the pandemic, this year, we’ve got a good excuse.

That doesn’t mean you have to miss the family though, and can possibly see more of them than ever. Say last year, your aunt in Alaska could make the trip, but your cousins in Cali couldn’t? And it was the opposite the year before? 

A couple video chatting people
For most, video chatting will be the new norm for Thanksgiving this year to avoid the spread of COVID. photo credit

This year, you can send everyone a chat link and get even the most distant relatives gathered. Or avoid that one family member no one wants around! All of your relatives learned to use video calls this year, so why not take advantage of the new skill set?

A few easy recipes shared among the group via email and it’s like all the closeness of the holidays with a lot more convenience. Sure, you might have to cook your own turkey, but you’ll also get to keep all the leftovers, so pretty even in the end.

Order Take Out and Support Local Restaurants

Maybe you don’t want to drop a bunch of cash on a giant meal to feed only a few people. Well, in that case, treat yourself! For half of what you might drop on a giant bird and sides for your extended loved ones, you can probably order a pretty swanky meal for two from a local restaurant. It’s been a rough year for a lot of eating establishments, and some support goes a long way during the holiday season. You can also take those savings right to the dispensary, or donate them to a local food bank. This year has been crazy, feel free to mix it up!

Make Anything an Edible

At most dispensaries, you’ll find a half-dozen options to make your food weed-powered. Distillate, dissolvables, infused olive oil, there’s always something to spice up a holiday feast, so why not go wild? You won’t have to worry about someone eating the wrong brownie if it’s just you, so infuse to your heart’s desire! Pass the chronic cranberry sauce, please.

Happy Thanksgiving PotGuide Readers!

While everyone can find something to be upset about this year, there’s been a lot to be thankful for as well. Be it your friends, or family, your hobbies, your health, your job, your pets, a happy thought, a good day of sunshine, or just a really nice joint.

We here at PotGuide are thankful for cannabis, the progress that’s happening for the plant around the world, and of course, for all of our wonderful readers and supporters. This Thanksgiving, we might have to be physically apart, but with the good green cannabis plant, everyone can feel a little closer together.

How will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year? Share your socially distanced plans and celebrations in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez (license)


Matthew Mongelia Matthew Mongelia

Matthew Mongelia is the Content Manager for He holds an MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA in Creative Writing from CUNY Brooklyn College. He has worked in the industry in numerous roles for over 5 years while covering cannabis content from coast to coast. Like so many in the industry, he first became acquainted with cannabis as a medical patient, and has been a passionate advocate for the plant ever since. He is a writer for the comic Dark Beach, and has previously covered music and cultural content for SOL REPUBLIC.

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