We are in the midst of another 420 anniversary, the time of year when everyone from the average stoner to the cannabis aficionado gets to cut loose and, for better or worse, show their wild-eyed appreciation for marijuana, the movement or just use it an excuse to call off work and smoke weed all day. Regardless of where you stand on the subject — is it significant in the grand scheme of legal marijuana or just a bunch of old school rubbish that should be put to bed — there is no denying that April 20 has become the unofficial Black Friday of the cannabis industry.
Well, come to think of it, maybe Black Friday isn’t an accurate comparison anymore. It is true that this day is one of the biggest events for the cannabis community, but it’s not as if these people are crashing the gates of their neighborhood dispensary, trying to fight other customers for a shot at cheap weed and paraphernalia. And while there might be some sicko out there who uses April 20 as an opportunity to purchase ganja gifts for friends and family, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that most people are buying pot to have during the many festivals, drum circles and other organized events. So, when you look at it that way, 420 is more like the Independence Day of the cannabis culture. The only problem is the weed scene really hasn’t found total freedom. While it is legal in a handful of states for recreational use, the federal government still considers it an illicit substance and, as crazy as it seems, people are still going to jail for it.
Still, much like the booze market rakes in the cash on the Fourth of July, the cannabis market does some of its best business of the year on 420. In fact, it was the single largest sales event of 2018, according to a report from Headset. It seems that people are so enthusiastic about celebrating this stoned spectacle of an event that they are even buying more weed in the weeks leading up to and following the holiday. Sales in places like California, Colorado and Washington were up around 11% during this time last year. It is the reason that 420 is more like the Fourth since beer sales experience a similar increase (33%) in the time leading up to the celebration.
The only problem is 420 is sort of an unofficial holiday — a nod to people who use marijuana with religious intensity while the rest of America celebrates Passover and Easter. Well, at least that is the case this year.
But 420 isn’t given the same kind of respect as even the nation’s working class holidays, the ones where people get the day off work to get blasted out of their minds, fire up the grill and pour it on full throttle as if they don’t have to report punch the clock the next day.
Fortunately, for those planning to celebrate 420 this year, it falls in a Saturday — Easter Eve — so we expect that pot sales could get turned up a notch. Some predictions show $90 million could be spent on weed this year during 420. And that doesn’t include junk food sales, which have already increased in legal states.
But, as a wise man once said, if the cannabis industry wants to rise up beyond the underground and become a powerhouse the same as booze, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to utilize all of the upcoming summer holidays to sell more grass. Continue to celebrate 420 all you want — it’s a big earner, we get it — but there are three more huge opportunities throughout the summer season to push weed sales with high-level intensity: Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. There is going to come a day when marijuana is finally unleashed from the shackles of nationwide prohibition and allowed to be sold in retail outlets similar to the booze commerce we have enjoyed over the past few decades. Why not embrace this concept now? Show America that S in cannabis stands for sun and summer and that it should fit into all of the same festivities as alcohol.
TELL US, what are your 420 plans?