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Amid the Coronavirus Lockdown, Cannabis Sales Were Down This 4/20

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Apr 28, 2020   
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Ideally, April 20 should be a day of record sales for every cannabis retailer. But thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s 4/20 sales were less than ideal.

Although more marijuana was legally purchased in the US during the unofficial holiday period than the week prior, revenue was still lower than figures seen in previous years.

Falling figures

According to the cannabis market research firm BDSA, 4/20 sales across recreational states jumped 46 percent above the average rate for the year.

This retail boom was more pronounced in Colorado, which recorded its best sales day yet for 2020. In California, the country’s largest legal market, 4/20 sales were higher than the average rate of the year, but still paled in comparison to revenue seen in mid-March when the state’s shelter-in-place order was first given.

“The 4/20 weekend showed a significant pick-up in sales… and it did not match up, unfortunately, to the spike that we saw 3/13 to 3/16,” said BDSA’s CEO, Roy Bingham, during the firm’s recent webinar.

Both California and Colorado experienced a reduction in sales compared to previous 4/20s. Back in 2018, recreational sales in Colorado were 170 percent higher on 4/20 than the average sales of any day in that year. This year, that difference dropped to 62 percent above average.

One reason for the sales slump could have been the Monday blues; 4/20 fell on a Monday this year – often the weakest sales day in any given week – while the past two 4/20s fell on a Saturday and a Friday – two of the best days for sales in any given week.

But even when the whole 4/20 weekend (Friday, April 17 to Monday, April 20) is taken into account, cannabis sales were mostly down on previous years. In California, this year’s weekend sales were 36 percent higher than average 2020 weekend rates, but 22 percent lower than the weekend sales figures seen in 2018.

A sheltered-in-place 4/20

The blame for the revenue dip has naturally been placed with Covid-19. Due to the social distancing rules enforced by most US states, fewer consumers were able to shop at their local cannabis dispensary over the 4/20 weekend. But rather than decrying this fall in footfall, many businesses encouraged it.

“A lot of the dispensaries were concerned with maintaining social distancing measures,” Tamar Maritz, BDSA’s business development lead, said during the firm’s recent webinar. “So they were pushing out loads of initiatives – #FlattenThe420Curve – to encourage consumers to purchase in advance of 4/20, so that all the demand wasn’t consolidated on that day.”

“And that is exactly what the data shows,” Maritz continued. “While it wasn’t a blow-out of a 4/20 – it wasn’t the biggest 4/20 we’ve ever seen – it was a solid day.”


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