Cannabis Companies Reflect On A Changed 420

Whether they designate marijuana’s special day as 4/20, 4:20, or 420, for many cannabis and cannabis-derived product manufacturers and retailers, April means packing the calendar with special promotions, alluring discounts, and commemorative events. 

Lisa Gee, Director of Marketing & CSR for Colorado dispensary chain Lightshade, shared that her company hosted a Virtual 4/20 Party with up-and-coming Colorado-based artists, DJs, a comedian, and a cannabis chef. Narmin Jarrous, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Kushy Punch affiliate Exclusive Brands, noted that the company hired 10 new people in retail to help with 4/20, a week that saw record highs in social media engagement and an overall sales increase of 40% over the previous week. 

Email open and click rates doubled and then tripled for smoking subscription box service Daily High Club, and the private company racked up 20,000 new Instagram followers leading up to 420 as well. The company is currently at a 241% increase year over year for April, not including subscription sales or increases. Water vaporizer manufacturer Cloudious9 also saw 420 gains this April, with sales up 175% from the previous month.

Public company Medical Marijuana, Inc. and its portfolio of companies including Kannaway and HempMeds boasted a 368% boost in sales on 4/20 compared to an average of all other days in April. Other public companies such as cannabis distributor Greenlane saw a jump (up to 4 times the average in the days leading up to 420) in demand for their line of premium infusers. CFO Ethan Rudin attributes this to increased interest from customers looking to infuse their own edibles at home during the Covid-19 lockdown. Greenlane’s premium glass water pipes doubled in sales on 4/20 this year, and their desktop vaporizer sales saw a 40% increase over the more travel-friendly hand-held model (not surprising during these travel-UNfriendly times). 

Not everyone in the cannabis industry agrees that 4/20 equals increased revenue. Wanna Brands is a leading cannabis-infused product brand based in Colorado. Its CEO, Nancy Whiteman, states that “April has never been a strong month in Colorado for cannabis brands overall. There is a huge run-up in sales in the weeks preceding 4/20, but typically stores overbuy and then pull back for the next few weeks. The whole event profits net out to either normal or lower sales revenue compared to other months. Couple that with the expectation of aggressive promotions, and 4/20 has never been that beneficial for brands.”

The cannabis industry may not be able to agree on the advisability (or profitability) of heavy investing in promotions and deep 420 discounts, but if there is one point that everyone can agree on, it is this. The unfolding public health drama of Spring 2020 has affected all markets like few others in history, making even the slightest increase in sales due to 420 far more significant than anyone could have predicted. 


Julie Aitcheson

Julie Aitcheson is a freelance writer, author and educator. In addition to Green Market Report, her work has appeared in Vanguard Magazine, The Fresh Toast, Green Entrepreneur, Daily Press, The Baltimore Sun, LA Weekly and The Chicago Tribune. She received a full fellowship to the 2013 Stowe StoryLabs and won second place in the 2014 San Miguel Writers' Conference nonfiction writing competition. She has published two young adult novels and is currently at work on a piece of adult fiction.

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