DENVER – Marijuana retailers raked in the green last week as the industry celebrated what experts called history’s single-biggest cannabis sales day.
April 20 – known as 420 – has long been a day for cannabis enthusiasts to light up in public, but the increasing legalization of marijuana means more people are joining in. An estimated 70,000 fans packed into Denver’s Civic Center Park on Friday for the world’s largest cannabis festival, many of them lighting up at 4:20 p.m.
Cannabis sales platform LeafLink predicted retailers nationally would sell about $1.17 billion worth of cannabis products for this year's 420 celebrations. Flowhub, another sales platform, reported that nationwide, Friday’s sales were 51% higher than normal, and 30% above last year’s April 20 sales day.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Sydney McCallum, who came from Dallas with her father to buy marijuana for the Denver festival.
Added fellow attendee Kennya Anderson, of Minneapolis: "It's been amazing, so refreshing. You don't have to hide."
Every year, April 20 is the single biggest sales day for pot, and the days leading up to it are a combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Black Friday rolled into one. Since Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in January 2014, participation has risen nationally.
Nine states and the District of Columbia permit recreational marijuana use, and 30 states permit some form of medical use. Those states selling pot have collected more than $1.6 billion in taxes since their legalization programs began, and California’s launch of legal sales earlier this year is expected to supercharge that number.
At least 121,000 people are already working directly in the nation’s home-grown marijuana industry, tending plants, trimming leaves and selling cannabis products to eager consumers, according to BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research. For comparison, there are fewer than 50,000 coal miners, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.