The holiday always stokes robust sales. But this year’s 4/20? It’s gonna be big.
We anticipate more than $100 million in sales on pot’s big day, making it the largest day of sales since dispensaries first started selling cannabis legally.
The history-making sales projection revolves in part around the thousands of dispensaries now open nationwide. When adult-use sales began in 2014 in Colorado, 4/20 involved a fraction of today’s sales outlets.
But the other big factor is the day of the week — Saturday. It’s the first time 4/20 has struck the heart of the weekend.
Appropriately, Saturday is named after Saturn, the Roman God of Agriculture. The Romans believed that Saturn ruled earth during an age of happiness and virtue. Agriculture? Good times? Social decency? Weed? We think the cosmos are telling us something this year.
Either way — Saturday or Tuesday — 4/20 is always the largest sales day of the year. Last year, for example, 4/20 sales were 64 percent larger than the next-busiest cannabis sales day of the year.
Sales were up across all product segments last year, but the product mix was slightly different than an average day from 2018. For the rest of the year, products that can be consumed discretely, like vapes and edibles, trended stronger than on 4/20. On pot's big holiday last year, dispensaries sold proportionally more flower, pre-rolled joints and dabbable concentrates than an average day. No big surprise here: on 4/20 celebrations are more public than your average day.
Saturday’s projected $100 million+ in cash register cha-chinging stands as a truly impressive milestone for an industry that’s still fighting its illegal status at the federal level, and battling against miles of red tape imposed by state and local governments. It also highlights cannabis’s immense commercial opportunities: Sales would be far higher in a federally legal environment.
The tongue-in-cheek 4/20 references suggestive of college campus parties wreathed in smoke and small gatherings of stoners have their place, but no longer do they come close to capturing the immensity of what 4/20 has become, and where it’s headed. In some markets, 4/20 has evolved into a multi-day bonanza featuring dispensary promotions, concerts, and rallies. It’s a movement, now — not just a public party. And this year, we anticipate 4/20 activities resounding into the wee hours of Monday.
All of it stands as an excellent opportunity for dispensaries, and not just in terms of weekend sales. The acceptance of cannabis among most American demographics is on the rise, with more and more people growing at least canna-curious every quarter. This year’s epic 4/20 gives dispensaries a chance to gain key exposure to a broader audience, which could lead to ever more acceptance, support and industry growth.
Legalized cannabis receives enormous amounts of press, but let’s not forget: it remains in its infancy. While medical cannabis markets have expanded to 33 states in the U.S., adult-use sales are only active in seven. Despite its still relatively small size, the industry has developed strong muscles — and it’s beginning to flex them. The significance of single day sales reaching $100 million is more psychological than commercially meaningful — as the marketplace rapidly expands nationwide, many other days will soon match or exceed this year’s 4/20.
Either way, for now operators in the cannabis industry should rejoice, and mainstream retailers will take notice. The days of snickering at the thought of retail cannabis sales are evaporating. The new reality is clear: The industry is a vibrant addition to our economy.
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