Pot’s annual holiday, 4/20, met its biggest potential bonanza last month in California. The Golden State just months earlier had welcomed legal recreational sales, and dispensaries, grows and brands up and down the state prepared to harvest the kind of green that piles-up in cash registers.
Did the harvest meet expectations?
It certainly rocked.
Sales on 4/20 in California, a Friday, reached $15.1 million, by far the busiest day at dispensaries so far in 2018 according to cannabis research firm BDS Analytics. That number is close to double the nearest sales day, which was April 19, the day before the big holiday, when dispensary cash registers hauled-in $8.65 million. Other big days during the year were April 13, with $8.5 million in sales; April 27, at $8.2 million; and March 30, which saw sales of $8.3 million. All of the biggest sales days, other than the day before 4/20, were on Fridays.
Naturally, since 4/20 fell on a Friday this year, the 4/20 weekend was by far the busiest of 2018. with $28.9 million in sales.
What sold? For the most part, 4/20 shopping resembles the rest of the year. But one data point stands out: flower gets a boost on the holiday. During California’s first month of recreational sales, January, flower commanded 43 percent of sales. But in February its market share fell to 41 percent and by March it dropped further to 40 percent. Examining all of April, too, sees flower at 40 percent. But on 4/20, sales of flower hit 42 percent. Prerolls, too, rose from 7 percent in March to 8 percent on 4/20.
The flower climb came at the expense of edibles. In both March and April, edibles represented 16 percent of sales, but on 4/20 they dropped to 14 percent.
The dramatic rise in dollar sales on 4/20 does come at a cost: the average retail sales price on 4/20 for a gram of flower or a unit (like a vape pen or a bag of gummies) was $11.32. But for all of April it was $14.02, and with the 4/20 price-deflation excluded from the April average the number is higher.
Meanwhile, gram/unit sales on 4/20 hit 1.34 million, which is more than double the second-biggest sales day of the year, 4/19, when consumers bought 647,553 items at dispensaries. So while dollar sales on 4/20 did not quite double the second-biggest dispensary day, unit sales more than doubled.
Given the popularity of holiday sales on Thursday — the day before 4/20 — this year, next year’s bonanza could stand out even more. With few exceptions, Fridays are always the most popular sales days of the week in cannabis, and Saturdays are close behind. A 4/20 holiday that fully embraces both Friday and Saturday could stoke a blaze far in excess of other 4/20s.