Hint: It’s definitely not Subway
Pot smokers just want their nuggets.
People who purchased legal marijuana overwhelmingly choose McDonald’s as their fast-food munchies destination of choice, according to a new study from Green Market Report and Consumer Research Around Cannabis — with 43% saying they’d passed through the golden arches in the past four weeks.
Eighteen percent of legal cannabis consumers opted for Taco Bell, according to the online survey of 27,500 people; third and fourth place went to similarly popular Wendy’s (17.8%) and Burger King (17.6%). Subway’s greener offerings, meanwhile, took a hit in the rankings with just 8.7%. Kentucky Fried Chicken burned even dimmer at 5.5%.
“McDonald’s wins by virtue of the sheer number of locations – by default really,” Consumer Research Around Cannabis vice president Jeff Stein said in a statement. “Those competitors which better understanding cannabis users and their consumer habits can certainly close the gap by integrating what they learn through their marketing efforts.” (McDonald’s did not return a Moneyish request for comment.)
A local Mickey D’s in Raton, N.M., leaned a little too hard into its frontrunner status over the summer, producing an interstate billboard that went viral: “Usually, when you roll something this good, it’s illegal!” read text adjacent to a breakfast burrito. The McDonald’s Corporation later told Fox News the billboard “does not meet our standards and is being taken down.”
Taco Bell, meanwhile, appears to have stepped up its game: Though not explicitly marketed to pot smokers, the company partnered with Lyft in July to pilot a late-night “Taco Mode” in Orange County, Calif., allowing riders between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. to tack on a TB stop. Restaurant CEO Brian Niccol in 2014 also dropped a less-than-subtle acknowledgment of the restaurant’s stoner acclaim: Asked during a Reddit AMA whether Colorado sales had increased since the state legalized weed, he replied, “420% (But seriously what is 4/20?).”
Pot puns aside, not everyone is laughing at McDonald’s champion status — with Green Market Report co-founder Cynthia Salarizadeh calling the survey results “disturbing.” “These results make it clear that more affordable healthier options need to become available,” she told Moneyish in a statement. “We believe location and frequency are a large part of why McDonald’s took the top spot. They are simply a larger chain with more stores to frequent. If there were tasty organic options available at every corner, I guarantee these figures would alter significantly in most of these cities.”
McDonald’s has 15,828 U.S. locations, according to a 2016 study by 24/7 Wall St.; the five states with the most locations per capita were Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Maryland and Louisiana.
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