If you haven't already bought your 4/20 holiday headstash, it might be time to hit the back of the line at your local dispensary.
As the year's most anticipated high holiday kicks off, canna-business experts are predicting that today will be the American cannabis industry's biggest sales day ever, with $80 million in state-legal pot products expected to fly off shelves before 4/20 is over.
The latest set of predictions comes from Denver-based consulting firm MJ Freeway, which anticipates a 48% legal weed sales hike today compared to last year's April 20th totals — or 300% more sales than a regular retail day.
In the newly released report, MJ Freeway analysts credited their bold forecast to factors such as it being California and Nevada's first 4/20 with recreational cannabis sales, as well as the pure happenstance that landed the heady holiday on a Friday.
And with stoners across the country already ducking out early and calling in three day weekends to celebrate, pot shops around the country are encouraging customers to come early and often with sales, parties, and product specials.
"It's almost like Black Friday, where people are waiting at the door at the very beginning of the morning to take advantage of some of these sales," Rachael Brower, the purchasing manager at Cannabis City, told Marijuana Business Daily. "I always call it 'Cannabis Christmas.'"
According to point-of-sale cannabis data firm Headset, dispensaries in Washington State are expecting huge increases in sales of cannabis-infused beverages, concentrates, edibles, and pre-rolls, with each of those product categories selling 150% more than the previous 4/20.
"4/20 is more about partying with cannabis and the types of products that play well to that context," Maryam Mirnateghi, the owner of Seattle's Fusion Collective told MJBiz Daily. "That's why you see an increase in beverages, concentrates, and pre-roll sales."
But even with expectations that today will be the biggest weed windfall for canna-businesses, analysts at MJ Freeway are confident that those totals could have been even higher if California's legal weed licensing process had moved faster over the past four and a half months.
"While California will contribute the most in sales growth for 4/20 2018, that growth will be hindered by the state's slow roll of recreational cannabis licenses," Jeannette Ward Horton, VP of Global Marketing & Communications for MJ Freeway, said. "If all medical California retailers were operating as recreational shops, 4/20 2018 would exceed $100M in sales."
Follow Zach Harris on Twitter