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420 2021

What does 4/20 mean to you? We asked this question to industry leaders and some of your answers made us laugh

The highest holiday is upon us and we thought we’d celebrate by asking some of our favorite cannabis industry insiders about the significance of 4/20. Most of us now know the origins of 4/20, but the significance continues to evolve. Is it still just a silly stoner code? An excuse to get high? A celebration of civil liberties and the healing powers of cannabis? A hell of a lot of work for those of us in the industry? Read on as dispensary owners, brand owners, and other cannabis professionals weigh in and share their favorite 4/20 traditions.

Mike Hennesy

VP of Innovation

Wana Brands

 
 

As a manufacturer, the months and weeks leading up to 4/20 are some of our busiest of the year. Lots of production, marketing, and usually a new product launch thrown in all for 4/20! Speaking of, this year Wana is launching a new Quick flavor, Limoncello.

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry?

4/20 is actually the day manufacturers get to take a deep breath and take a break because the product has been shipped and is on shelves. I like to spend 4/20 visiting stores, talking with customers, and handing out swag; it’s just a great time. I used to have to think about why my ‘dealer’ wasn’t getting back to me when we were all out of cannabis on 4/20…

Do you have any 4/20 traditions?

I like to get back to my roots and roll up an old-school blunt.

Victoria Crichlow-Debro

Sales and Operations Manager

Dablicator and Jetty CBD

 

 

4/20 means not looking over your shoulder and feeling paranoid in your own skin while enjoying cannabis.

I ran a retail delivery service the first three years I worked in cannabis so I never celebrated 4/20, as that was our busiest time. It wasn’t until I left the retail world and worked in sales operations at PAX Labs that I got to truly celebrate 4/20 and by that time it was a real holiday! On 4/20 I tend to think of the retail workers who are filling orders all over the country and be thankful for their work, and that moment when they are off and can celebrate however they want to.

This 4/20 I’ll be planning Dablicators™ booth and some fun activities for the return of industry in-person events in October, while enjoying a joint on Clubhouse in the evening with some cannabis industry friends and family in our club: The Rooftop. We always meet on Tuesdays at 4:20pm PST so it seems like it was meant to be!

Christine De La Rosa

CEO and Co-Founder

The People’s Dispensary

 

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry?  

I didn’t celebrate 4/20, although my friends did.  I was really sick during those years and mostly stuck in my house until I found my cannabis regime that literally saved my life.

Do you have any 4/20 traditions?  

I do!  I usually start in the morning with some tincture in my morning beverage–a 3:1 CBD tincture. Then midday I call my bestie and we share a toke and chat about the events in our lives.  Normally, pre-pandemic, we would hold an event with our customers.  This was one of my favorite things because I got to visit with the people who support this.  I am sad that we are missing this again this year but have a lot of hope that after more people are vaccinated we will be able to celebrate with each other again.

What, if anything, does 4/20 mean to you?  

For me it means freedom.  Free from pain, free from prohibition, it is the day I celebrate my use of cannabis to change my Lupus health journey.

Jackie Gonzalez-Becerra

Group Manager

Weedmaps

 

To me, 4/20 is a celebration of cannabis culture and a time where consumers get to enjoy a smoke session and a laugh together. This year, like last year, will look a little different than the normal 4/20 festivities. Luckily, Weedmaps will be hosting ‘Even Higher Together,’ a 4/20 Virtual Event to keep the party going at home. 

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry? 

Before I was in the industry it felt more like a solo holiday where I made sure to get some good flower and enjoy. Now, it’s a celebration with an entire global community and it feels extremely special to be part of the industry that helps build experiences for people to celebrate 4/20 in their own way. 

Do you have any 4/20 traditions? 

Normally, I like to celebrate with colleagues and friends, but now our world looks a little different and we are all working from home. I instead plan to wait until my daughter goes to bed and will celebrate the holiday with my husband.

Sharoz Makarechi

Founder

Substance

 

I love that 4/20 started in California, and is now a worldwide phenomenon. It’s a culturally relevant date and time stamp related to a plant that’s part of my worldview. I truly believe cannabis can heal the world, medically, and otherwise. It’s almost a language of its own, a connector. Bringing people from disparate backgrounds, anywhere in the world. 

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry?  
 
4/20 is particularly is special this year, because it’s the first time that Substance is available at retailers in California. But for us there is no 4/20 without 8:46, a number that represents the last 8 minutes and 46 seconds of George Floyd’s life, and racial injustice in general. We donate $8.46 per pack of Substance sold to Impact/Justice, but then we do this every day.
 

Do you have any 4/20 traditions?

We’re starting one this year.  Celebrating Killer Mike’s birthday, which happens to be on 4/20, Cali sober style. From my perspective, he’s a modern day civil rights leader, as well as a self-described “lover of weed,”premium cannabis in our parlance. If only I could deliver him a gift pack of Substance in person. Maybe next year.

Mary Stuart Diebel

VP of Sales

Vantage Point Distribution

 

4/20 has taken on a whole new meaning for me since I started working in the cannabis industry. Previously, I was a casual consumer who may or may not plan anything special for 4/20, but now it feels like a special occasion that I plan months in advance–both in a professional and personal capacity. Professionally, we started planning our 4/20 activations and promotions back in January to align with our retail partners on the best way to engage with our customers. Personally, I like to use 4/20 as a way to test out new products that I’ve been wanting to try in the market, but I always leave space for my personal favorites as well… I also plan to visit at least a dozen dispensaries in the LA area because I love to see the retail experiences on 4/20 and to see what kind of activations brands are hosting for the holiday. Everyone has had to get creative this year with COVID restrictions still in effect, so I’m excited to see what will be happening that day.

Chris Ball

Founder

Ball Family Farms

 

For me, 420 is a day to give back to the cannabis consumer in appreciation.

I don’t smoke, so before I had my company 4/20 was just another day to me. Now, since Ball Family Farms born – 4/20 is an opportunity for me to go that extra mile and one….show my customers how much I appreciate them, and two to celebrate the fact that I am living out my dream of changing the world one pound of weed at a time. 

Charlie Cain

Writer

MJBI

I always feel reflective on 4/20. I’m grateful for the beauty and healing that cannabis brings me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of this growing industry. And on a day when we enjoy celebrating cannabis legally, I’m reminded to honor those who built this industry and culture at the expense of their freedom. Cannabis has enriched my life on so many levels, and that’s worth celebrating and sharing!

Kevin Giles

VP of Custom Sales

LuvBuds

 

Are you making any preparations for 4/20? 

Of course.  I’m in sales (and it’s cannabis) so I prepare for increased demand, limited inventory, strict deadlines and unpredictable outcomes. 

Do you have any 4/20 traditions? 

Smoking a bowl/joint/bong/dab at 4:20 PM on 4/20 remains a goal every year.  If I can do that with any of my favorite stoner friends, I’m in heaven. 

Alex Pasternack

Executive VP

Binske

4/20 has always been a big holiday for me. Going to the University of Colorado in Boulder, 4/20 was basically a national holiday. My freshman year at Boulder was the year after CU won #1 party school, and things got pretty wild. I had friends fly out from different parts of the country just to ‘toke-up’ outside the library on campus at CU. Believe it or not, we collected our stems for the previous 6 months in big bags, and infused the stems in Bacardi 151 for a few weeks leading up to 4/20. Boy oh boy, the good-ol-days! 

Now, things are a bit different on 4/20. 4/20 preparation takes weeks of planning and organization, as retailers place massive orders leading up to it and then move more product on that day than any other day in the year. 

4/20 is our industry’s national holiday. It’s a time that we get to recognize, appreciate, and enjoy the cannabis plant in all different form factors with different friends and family. It’s pretty remarkable how much this industry has grown, especially since I was in Boulder when Colorado first went legal. Entering the cannabis industry was the best decision of my life, and 4/20 is my favorite day to celebrate it.

Ralina Shaw

Founder

RSPR

At RSPR 4/20 means a day to appreciate cannabis culture, the plant, and all the benefits it provides. A time to reflect on how far we’ve come as a country and with marijuana policy. We may still have a long way to go, but being able to enjoy cannabis without the old-school “stoner” stigma is a step in the right direction.

Are you making any preparations for 4/20?

Every year in preparation for 4/20 we stock up on a large variety of cannabis products, specifically choosing products or brands we’ve never tried before. We like having a smorgasbord of cannabis. 

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry?

We have a better selection of quality products to choose from and the potency is off the charts.

Do you have any 4/20 traditions?

Before the pandemic, we used to have friends over for a 4/20 “pot potluck.” People would bring their own cannabis products and consumption devices (gravity bongs, volcano vaporizer, etc) and share them with the group. We’d spend the day smoking, spinning vinyl, watching music videos, and ordering (probably too much) delivery food. This year we will be celebrating in a similar way but over Zoom. We purchased a webcam and mic we can attach to our giant flatscreen TV and run through a laptop, allowing us to have our friends together on the “big screen” for 4/20 smoke sessions.

Zach Lipson

Co-founder and CPO

dutchie

 


4/20 symbolizes the day that we all celebrate the benefits of this plant. That means something different to everyone and we all have different reasons to celebrate. For me personally, it revolves around normalizing something that’s been so misrepresented in our society for such a long time. I celebrate the change that’s taking place and the constant forward progress our industry is making in breaking that stigma.

Are you making any preparations for 4/20?
At dutchie we’re preparing on all fronts. This year we expect to see higher sales volume than ever before, specifically online, so with our e-commerce product we’re gearing up for a big uptick in order volume. With our recent acquisitions of LeafLogix and Greenbits, we’re also doubling down in our preparedness with those systems to ensure that retailers have a smooth experience on and around the holiday.

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry?
My connection to the plant, and this holiday, has deepened dramatically since I started working in this industry. I’ve had a front row seat to what cannabis has been able to do for our society and our well-being. That said, 4/20 and the celebration of cannabis, means more to me today than it ever has in the past. It’s also one of the most important days of the year for as it relates to work, so naturally that’s been a big adjustment for me compared to my days prior to dutchie.

Bob Eschino

Co-founder

Medically Correct

 

Celebrating the freedom to use cannabis in Colorado has become very special to the Medically Correct team. But, until every patient has the right to access cannabis legally, 420 will still be a protest against the federal government’s position on cannabis use. 

Abigail Nueve

Marketing Manager

Medically Correct

 

Are you making any preparations for 4/20?

We are in launch mode for two exciting new brands later coming this spring. It’s full steam ahead for our team, but we will pause to have some fun on 4/20. 

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry?

Coming from the packaging industry, 4/20 wasn’t really a thing – no consuming on the job! But now, we celebrate with our team by enjoying our favorite products and marveling that we’ve been in the industry for more than 10 years! 

Do you have any 4/20 traditions?

We like to take time to acknowledge our staff who works so hard all year long and in advance of 4/20. This year we’ll also have some fun sharing and sampling our new products with the team. 

Zahra Khol

Owner

American Hashmakers

 

4/20 is nostalgic for me. I remember getting stoned with friends and definitely still celebrate with loved ones and colleagues. Though 4/20 radically changed in 2013 for my family.  We have owned and operated numerous cannabis companies, ranging from medical retail shops and today American Hash Makers and Budtenders Ball Events. Currently 4/20 denotes preparations for a successful second quarter.

Chris Olson

Writer

MJBI

I’m normally an edible consumer when it’s not 4/20. I’m planning to take a break from edibles and smoke flower on 4/20. I’m really craving an energetic sativa strain smoked out of a clean glass bong.

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry? 

I like how 4/20 gets me to rethink my usual consumption habits. I start looking at products I don’t normally consume like flower and oils. I like to understand what everyone else is normally consuming. 

Olivia Kemp

Marketing Director

NFuzed

 

4/20 to me means comradery. It means working together to amplify your coworkers’ and fellow consumers’ passions about cannabis and helping to end the stigma that surrounds the plant. 

We at NFuzed have been in preparation for 4/20 since beginning of March in every department! We wanted to make sure we were prepped with marketing materials, swag, and the best promos for our accounts.

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry?

I spend 4/20 now with an even bigger smile on my face than before.

Every day is 4/20, though, amirite?!

Tim Naughton

Head of Data Growth

Jane Technologies

 

4/20 is still an important holiday!  It’s the single day when you can count on the sporadic and occasional cannabis users to come out.  As much as our industry can continue expanding into new States, we also need to open more wallets and 4/20 is an opportunity to turn the sporadic buyers into regular ones. If introducing more people to cannabis as a replacement for alcohol, or opioids, or other pharmaceuticals is exciting — then 4/20 has to be exciting.  Right?

Are you making any preparations for 4/20?  

Since I live in Texas, I am making preparations to travel somewhere that I can truly celebrate the holiday.  It’s only a ~14-15 hour drive to Denver, so I’m currently recruiting co-pilots.

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry?

 Rather than playing whack-a-mole going to dispensaries looking for deals, I typically use iHeartJane.com or a retailer’s embedded online ordering to make a click & collect order. I browse a lot more than on a normal day, and so I don’t want to waste a budtender’s time with my ADHD.  The lines on 4/20 are long enough without me gumming up the works, so it’s better for everyone if I can come up with a basket of products and checkout online.

Do you have any 4/20 traditions?   

Just one: a little band called The Grateful Dead.  

Vince Ning

CEO and Founder

Nabis

Vince Ning of Nabis

4/20 is a holiday I’ve celebrated since college. It holds a nostalgic place in my heart that draws an eclectic set of memories from my youth. My co-founder, Jun S. Lee, and I have been best friends since we were kids and have celebrated many 4/20s together, so this holiday holds a special place in our friendship. 

What, if anything, are you doing to prepare for 4/20?

Making sure that our operations can sustain the surge in demand! We are prepared to make sure dispensaries are stocked fully with our partners’ products.

Do you have any 4/20 traditions? 

Nothing special. I just always make sure to roll a doobie with my friends.

Amanda Lowell

Director of PR

Grasslands

 

4/20 is a holiday I’ve celebrated for as long as I can remember. To me, it’s always been an excuse to get silly with friends and avoid responsibilities for the day. 

What, if anything, are you doing to prepare for 4/20?

Since joining Grasslands, it’s less about me and more about ensuring my clients needs are met. We’re currently preparing for the holiday by sending out lots of samples to local journalists and promoting events both in person and online.

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry? 

No more avoiding responsibilities for me. 4/20 is basically the Super Bowl of the cannabis industry so it’s essentially our busiest time of year. Back in college I was getting high all day, now it has to be saved until the workday is over.

Do you have any 4/20 traditions? 

Nothing special other than making sure a joint is smoked.

Lilly Kerrigan

Sales Executive

PayQwick

 

The date 4/20 is lovely because it’s spring and all the buds are popping, but I think of 4:20 more as the time of day. 4:20 to me is a celebration of the feeling that comes from cannabis – one part relaxation, like winding down in the afternoon, one part enthusiasm, like getting your second wind.

Tess Rose

Writer

MJBI

 

I used to think of 4/20 as just a fun day to plan a good smoke sesh, but now I see it as an opportunity to delve deeper into the intersection of cannabis and the environment because of how close it is to Earth Day. It’s a good reminder how connected everything is, and that cannabis is a holistic industry, necessarily intertwined with society and our planet. 

Blair Hogan

iComply

 

What, if anything, does 4/20 mean to you?
Everyone I know who partakes is getting high 4/20
 
Are you making any preparations for 4/20?
I have my monthly book club in which I am the only one working in cannabis. I’ve been tasked with bringing some goodies the ladies would enjoy.
 
How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry? 
Because the stigma around the industry is changing, I have more people I can celebrate 4/20 with and I don’t have to be secretive anymore. I know a lot more about products and the wide variety of choices, which is super exciting. I am making 4/20 my “try something new day” annually!
 

Louis Levey

Writer

MJ Brand Insights

 

Are you making any preparations for 4/20?

No preparations for 4/20. I’m more of a go-with-the-flow person than a planner. Also, while I have friends who consume cannabis regularly in Thailand, the community isn’t as widespread as it is in the US. It’s still somewhat taboo here, despite the Kingdom easing its position on it. My fiancee is Thai, and before she met me, she had learned ‘ganja’ was a highly addictive drug – the equivalent to heroin – that would make a person lose weight fast and go crazy. I’m still waiting for that effortless weight loss, but I don’t think it’s coming any time soon.

Do you have any 4/20 traditions?

I don’t have any 4/20 traditions these days, but when I was in high school, the tradition was to skip school to smoke and chill all day. Usually, this just meant going in with a few friends on a nice bag of flower from whoever happened to have “fire on deck” at the time and enjoying the day with friends. Of course, we would always have to purchase our bud at least a few days before to avoid the dreaded ‘I’m dry’ reply text. I grew up in South Florida, so more often than not, this was a day at the beach or kayaking, perhaps some 711 Slurpees, sushi buffet or Cici’s pizza, movies, etc.

What, if anything, does 4/20 mean to you?

When I was younger, 4/20 was just a solid excuse to increase recreational consumption, overeat, sleep, and enjoy our youth. But these days, it’s different.

I find 4/20 interesting as the US continues to shape its legal cannabis sector. I feel it’s an inclusive day during which people who wouldn’t normally use cannabis participate in its consumption. I think that with each passing 4/20, more people will gain an understanding of what cannabis actually is, the culture surrounding it, and the viability of this industry. My hope is that the taboo surrounding this budding industry continues to fade away as education continues to promote cannabis knowledge, understanding, and compassion – especially for the patients who use these products as treatments. Honestly, recreational cannabis is great and all. But I’m more passionate about ensuring patients have access to their medicine.

Lawrence Perrigo

Owner

Saints Joints

 

What, if anything, does 4/20 mean to you? 

It means it’s about to get really busy!

Are you making any special preparations for 4/20? 

Nothing too special but we always try to make every drop special.

Do you have any 4/20 traditions? 

I try to eat and smoke weed all day, not just at night.

How do your current 4/20 plans differ from before you were in the cannabis industry? 

I am working on a Saints Covid-19 mask with a collapsible joint hole so you don’t have to pull your mask down 😉

Michelle “MJ” Yun

Head of Sales

Green Mill Supercritical Inc.

 

I’m a bit outside the norm I think with respect to what 4/20 means to me. It sometimes feels like a weird mix of illicit market culture and those who are being more serious, which I find a bit frustrating. It detracts from what I think is needed: That cannabis should be viewed as a commodity, not something “counterculture” or out of step with the norm. So, I’m not always tuned in to the celebrations occurring on 4/20, but from a business perspective I think it is important to remember that none of the extraction technology innovations that we have been pursuing would be possible were it not for cannabis legalization efforts and legislation. The demand for extraction machinery would not exist today without legalization, nor would so many of the jobs that have been created. In that sense, I certainly believe there is cause for celebration. 

On the other hand, the day does have personal meaning for me as a day of re-connection. I have friends from all over the world through my military service and just moving around so much. So my friends and I kind of use this day to take a moment to say “hi” to each other. It just feels like a very natural reason for us to get together and take a hit and catch up. In my personal life, I enjoy celebrating in a recreational sense. You can indulge a bit more on that day and talk about cannabis a bit more. While it is wonderful to see the wide acceptance of cannabis, some of the marketing efforts that occur on the industry side can be a bit much. 

 Are you making any preparations for 4/20? 

I know we are planning some of those marketing efforts I just mentioned! We are offering 20 percent off complete extraction machines, which is a pretty sweet deal! But other than that, I’m not making any huge plans. I do have a ritual with my friends we call a “soak and smoke” where my friends and I in different locations all get in our bathtubs and smoke weed and chat from wherever we may be for at least an hour or so. We are scheduling something like that this year. 

How does the way you spend 4/20 differ from the days before you were a part of this industry? 

Because this industry spends so much time meeting each other and discussing our different businesses, I have more of an education now on what makes a good cannabis product and how to find the best instead of just buying whatever somebody suggests.

Due to the camaraderie with my colleagues across the cannabis space, I’m a lot smarter now and I think I’m a bit more finicky than I used to be. My palate has evolved!

Bryan Passman 

Founder

Hunter Esquire

As a long-time consumer, 4/20 used to mean a lot to me personally. Nowadays, it means a lot more to me professionally as we often find ourselves in strategic conversations with our cannabis clients in the days leading up to this big revenue-generating day for them. It’s been a cool evolution, and of course we still celebrate in the traditional sense.

Do you have any 4/20 traditions? 

Who doesn’t!?

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