Finding the balance between the holiday spirit and commerce 420

When 420 began in the early 1970s, it was just a day for weed smokers to bond at a time when it wasn’t always easy to do. April 20th was an underground stoner holiday that has long held a special place in cannabis tradition and lore. However, as cannabis continues to find its place in the mainstream, the quirky, lighthearted fun of 420 gave way to uncontrolled commerce and is now little more than a day to do business if you are a consumer and sell additional products if you are an entrepreneur , this is basically Black Friday for the cannabis industry.

Some people don’t mind the trend, and to be honest, I definitely love a good 420 deal myself. But deals aren’t everything, it’s important to remember the true meaning of 420 – friends, unity, and progress. Some companies and industry professionals have denounced the materialistic character of the modern 420 as a whole and hope to bring the vacation back to its carefree origins.

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Story of 420

The origin of the term 420 goes back to a group of five teenagers from San Rafael, California, the birthplace of many industry trends and currently the largest cannabis market in the world. The teenagers were appropriately referred to as “Waldos” because of their preferred meeting place – a wall outside their high school. In the fall of 1971, the Waldos got a rumor that a coast guard had planted some cannabis seeds there and could no longer take care of their field.

Every day after school they piled into one of their cars, smoked a bit, and searched the Point Reyes National Forest for that legendary crop. Your daily meeting time? 4:20 pm They never found the elusive harvest (which probably didn’t even exist), but they managed to start a trend that would take over their high school first and soon reach global status.

The term “420” caught on quickly, especially among teenagers and young adults, because it allowed teenagers to speak openly about cannabis while their parents, teachers, and supervisors weren’t the smarter.

The trends continued to spread through high schools, but how did the 420 become internationally known? That took away some star power, for which we have to thank the Grateful Dead. The Waldos had ties to the Grateful Dead. Mark Gravitch’s father ran the band’s real estate, and Dave Reddix’s older brother was good friends with Phil Lesh, the Dead’s bassist.

At a Dead concert on Christmas weekend 1990, High Times reporter Steve Bloom received a flyer that read: “We’ll meet on April 20 at 4:20 am for the 420 in Marin County at the sunset town of Bolinas Ridge on Mt. . Tamalpais. “After the High Times printed the story along with a photo of the flyer, it was game over … 420 was officially a thing.

What became 420

Instead of a lazy day where you can hang out with your friends and enjoy the wonder of the weeds, 420 has become a day to check out the internet or local pharmacy menus for the best deals. On average, cannabis users plan to spend just under $ 150 on 4/20 alone, which for most of them equals or exceeds their typical monthly expenses.

“I think brands that associate with cannabis get that contact high. In other words, they’re just considered cooler by the Association, ”said Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University. “As pot becomes more legal, more debatable, more interesting to people, and more widespread, 420 becomes more mainstream.”

This increase in “coolness” through cannabis means a lot of money for companies that offer marketable products. Businesses in the beauty industry can formulate a quick CBD lotion, sell it at a discount of 420, and have a quick marketing campaign that can make thousands of dollars. It’s great when cannabis companies offer their customers a token of appreciation, often in the form of a discount. However, if everyone is trying to take advantage of the 420 momentum, this can be a bit of an exaggeration. Some companies choose not to participate in the madness and it’s easy to see why.

One example is Scott Sundvor, CEO and co-founder of Space Coyote, a San Francisco-based manufacturer of infused joints who was deeply disappointed that what “started as a celebration of the weed has degenerated into consumerism and bargain hunting in pharmacies,” said he in a Forbes interview. He says his company is encouraging consumers to be less obsessed with retail this holiday season. “With this 420 we’re encouraging everyone to get out in nature, light a joint and enjoy their day and this beautiful plant to the fullest.”

Evelyn LaChapelle, a program associate at the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit focused on cannabis criminal justice reform, believes 420 is a distraction from more important priorities. “Before I went to jail, I celebrated 420 with the rest of the thousands of people who celebrate every year,” she said. “After jail, I find that thousands of people across the country are celebrating cannabis while 40,000 people are still in jail for cannabis. The legal industry needs to do something to correct this. “

Overall, I think that people are just fed up with this society where we rule money and are looking for something deeper on many different levels. How you enjoy your free time certainly counts.

Speaking of Black Friday …

Similar trends are emerging in retail as well, with many companies starting to boycott Black Friday. In recent years, Apple, Costco, Crate & Barrel, IKEA, Nordstrom, Sam’s Club, Staples, and many other retailers turned down Black Friday in response to the “discount creep” that quickly led to deals starting Thursday. Thanksgiving every day.

Some people refer to it as “Black Friday Eve”, “Black Thursday” or “Gray Friday”, but many are a little worried about the obvious materialism displayed on a holiday when we are supposed to say thank you for everything we have. It’s irony to the max.

It is an incredibly smart and practical step for companies to disguise themselves as anti-marketing. On the surface, it’s a boycott that puts them directly at a disadvantage. However, it is publicly viewed as a “brave” and “moral” attitude, so people who see Black Friday the same way are more likely to support these companies. A study conducted by research firm MarketLive found that around 65 percent of consumers “hate or dislike” the trend of retailers opening stores on Thanksgiving, and only 12 percent strongly support the idea.

Final thoughts

Here, too, deals aren’t a bad thing. In my opinion, they are really wonderful – I’ll stock up on my local pharmacy and we’ll have some great deals in our newsletters too, but it’s important to remember that they aren’t everything. The real purpose of this vacation is the togetherness among other stoners. So give a friend a call, take a nature walk, volunteer somewhere, or get involved in your local cannabis activism community. Whatever you feel like you are really taking advantage of the vacation. Take the offers you get and share them with a loved one!

What are your plans for April 20th this year? Drop us a line in the comment section below and subscribe The weekly CBD Flowers newsletter to make sure you don’t miss a thing this April 20th!

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Beth Edmonds