4/20 Has Been the Biggest Sales Day for Adult-Use Weed States Every Year Since 2016
This April has been a historic month for cannabis reform in the US, and 4/20 is the perfect day to celebrate.
Published on April 20, 2021

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For the second year in a row, the pandemic has forced this year's 4/20 gatherings, celebrations, and festivals to either cancel their plans or move online. The lockdown hasn't stopped people from celebrating this high holiday with their closest friends and family, though, and legal weed retailers are still expecting to make record sales this year. 

The cannabis industry has a good reason to be optimistic. According to a new report by Marijuana Business Daily, April 20th has been the largest single adult-use sales day every single year since states individually began legalizing recreational pot sales. The proportion of total sales made on 4/20 has also been growing consistently year-over-year.

According to data gleaned from cannabis analysis firm Headset, legal weed stores in California, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington sold a combined $90 million worth of pot during the week of April 20th, 2018. The following year, that figure climbed to $130 million, and despite the pandemic, these states still managed to sell nearly $160 million worth of legal pot during the week of 4/20/20.

This data also shows how the 4/20 holiday helps the legal weed industry survive its leaner months. In general, weed sales are much stronger during the summer and in December, and weakest at the beginning of the year. When looking at the top 10 weeks of sales for these four states from 2016 to 2020, Headset found that none of these record-breaking weeks happened in January, February, March, or May. But thanks to 4/20, three of these states did record a top-10 sales week in April.

Unfortunately, the 4/20 sales rush is generally followed by one of the year's worst weeks for sales. The data suggests that customers will wait for holiday sales and promotions to begin, and then stock up on enough pot to last them for at least a few weeks. 

The specific day that 4/20 falls on also impacts sales. In 2018, when 4/20 was on a Friday, one-third of the week's entire weed sales were made on that day. In contrast, April 20th fell on a Monday last year, and only 18.7 percent of the week's total sales were made that day.

As the pandemic drags into its second year, industry analysts are struggling to predict how this year's 4/20 sales will fare. The US weed industry sold nearly $18 billion worth of weed in 2020, and monthly trends are already suggesting that 2021's total adult-use sales are on track to grow even higher. Last week alone, California, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington sold over $175 million worth of pot combined – more than they sold during 4/20 week last year. 

Based on these trends, it’s looking likely that this year’s 4/20 sales will continue the trend of yearly growth. And now that four more states just voted to legalize weed this month, people have even more cause to celebrate.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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