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With 420 just around the corner, you’re probably already noticing a spike in sales as consumers gear up for the most important holiday of the year. For retailers, 420 represents a massive opportunity. Headset has predicted that “total cannabis sales [will] increase by at least 100% in the US and at least 50% in Canada on 4/20 this year.”

Yet, despite its importance, the history of 420 is shrouded in mystery. So, before we dive into the market trends and events of 2022, let’s explore where this legendary holiday began.

Where Did 420 Originate?

What’s the real origin of the 420 holiday we now know and love? With cannabis’ colorful past, there are several equally colorful origin stories. 

Perhaps you may have heard about the term “420” actually starting as a California police radio code, indicating a cannabis crime was underway. But, according to Snopes, this is a myth. 

Their investigation determined, “Section 420 of the California penal code refers to obstructing entry on public land. The penal codes of other states list different entries for 420, but none of them matches anything having to do with marijuana.”

Another hypothesis about the root of international weed day is that cannabis contains more than 420 active chemicals. Scientists have discovered more than 100 cannabinoids and 150 terpenes to date, but these botanical explorations are pretty new. The 420 celebration has been going on since long before we understood the complexities of the plant.

The real story behind 420 starts with a crew of California teenagers in the early 1970s. The group, who went by the name The Waldos because they always hung out next to the school wall, suggested meeting up at 4:20 pm to go on a quest to find a secret stash of weed.

Although that adventure failed, The Waldos adopted “420” to reference all things cannabis. Eventually, it spread to friends and acquaintances and to The Grateful Dead through serendipitous circumstances. Once Deadheads caught on to 420, the rest, as they say, is history.

Why 420 Matters for Cannabis Retailers

For stoners, this annual holiday is a chance to celebrate a plant with a rich cultural heritage. For retailers, this international day of weed has the potential to increase basket size dramatically, boost customer spending, and encourage new customers overall.

Headset recently published “Understanding the 4/20 cannabis holiday & consumer purchasing trends,” leading up to the year’s most important day. 

With total sales expected to increase more than 50 percent in Canada on 420, it’s critical to stock up well in advance. According to their numbers, the essential products to have on hand are cannabis drinks, concentrates, edibles, flowers, and pre-rolls. 

How much more business can you plan for? According to the report, “Expect nearly double the amount of customers that you would normally serve in April.” Capture this celebratory market with discounts (customers will expect them) and timely sales leading up to the big day.

One other key takeaway from the Headset report is about demographics. As the authors conclude, “Celebrating 4/20 by making a purchase at a recreational dispensary is much more popular with women and younger customers than previous years.” Consider what products already appeal to your customers within these demographics and how you can market them in-store.

420 Events in 2022 Across Canada

Participating in 420 has always been a big deal for cannabis consumers and advocates. It was a time to gather, celebrate, and push for legal access. Since legalization, the protest tone may have shifted, but the celebration remains.

With legalization well underway, 420 has transformed from a fringe festival into a mainstream event. With two years off due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, 420 events in 2022 are just ramping up again. Here are a few worth noting.

Niagara Falls 420 Expo

Will you be in Ontario this coming 420? Head to the Niagra falls Convention Center on Saturday, April 23, 2022 (10:00 am – 8:00 pm) for 30,000 square feet of cannabis. That’s a full day of exhibits, educational seminars, speakers, and more.

The 4:22 Party

Welcome to Windsor and the first legal open cannabis consumption experience! On Friday, April 22 (hence the 4:22), Windsor’s Weed Association is hosting a party for their local community, including a bong bar, dab bar, drink bar, taco bar, and more. 

420 Experience

Vancouver’s epic Sunset Beach 420 party may be on hold this year, but several events are still happening for 2022, including the 420 Experience hosted by the Conscious Lab. Your ticket includes samples, yoga, sound healing, and infused snacks. It’s a space for networking and exploration of cannabis and psychedelics. 

Want to Make the Most Out of 420?

Tech POS is a fully compliant, all-in-one ecosystem for cannabis sales in Canada and beyond. Our fully integrated line of products, including POS, e-commerce, and digital signage, make operations seamless. Use data-driven insights from Tech POS to build your business.

Connect with us for a free demo today!


Author Jessica

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