By Andrew Ward
The high holy day of pot is almost here and ready to shake off the rust from last year.
April 20, the most celebrated day in cannabis, is usually marked with copious amounts of pot. Last year, the online marketplace I Heart Jane saw a 35% sales increase the week of 420 versus a typical sales week.
Data from Headset shows cannabis sales spike around 420 in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Beverages (54%), topicals (41%) and concentrates (41%) were the highest growers during the period.
“Attention to the 420 holiday is another example of how the cannabis industry has arrived, with 420 driving sales just like any other type of retail environment holiday, from Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day,” said Choice Consolidation Corp. (NEO: CDXX-UN.NE) CEO Joe Caltabiano.
Strong sales during the pandemic’s peak provide optimism for a holiday season featuring many vaccinated consumers in what could be the final months of the pandemic.
Continued Growth Expected As COVID-19 Declines, Cannabis Interest Rises: “As we continue to see strength in the market and more new customers becoming familiar with our products, we predict another record-setting 420,” said Jeff Yapp, CEO of Golden Leaf Hldgs Ltd (OTC:GLDFF). The company owns and operates Oregon’s Chalice Farms dispensary brand.
Manifestseven Holdings (OTC:MNFSF) Director and CEO Sturges Karban expects continued growth this 420. Karban, whose company owns Weden dispensaries in California, said the last year validated the resilience of cannabis.
“If anything, the past year has proven to consumers, operators, regulators and legislators alike that demand for this product can compete even with pressures on disposable income,” said Karban.
Bryan Lloyd, VP, retail operations at the multistate operator Jushi Holdings Inc. (OTC:JUSHF), said the company’s BEYOND/HELLO dispensaries typically see an uptick in sales in the days leading up to 420 and on the holiday itself.
“This year, 420 has a real chance to go mainstream,” said Lloyd. Jushi has a footprint in Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and Virginia through BEYOND/HELLO. The company plans to double its store count in 2021.
Different Approaches To Safe Cannabis Operations: Some stores shifted to a new normal of operations during the pandemic. Others remain focused on returning to old operations — with personal protective equipment.
Chalice Farms had three priorities over the past year: “staff safety, customer safety and keeping our stores open,” Yapp said.
COVID-19 precautions remain in place at the company’s seven locations, he said.
“Our safety procedures that were implemented last year have become standard practices and we’re looking forward to a safe, exciting celebration for our community.”
Some of the protocols include limiting the number of customers in the store and an emphasis on online ordering.
Karban said Weden keeps employees up to date with quarterly COVID-19 guideline updates.
Internal checks include a safety buddy system of sorts.
“All of our teams have a usually self-designated person who helps enforce safety and health procedures, guidelines and compliance within his or her own teams,” he said.
Weden hopes to provide a quality shopping experience this 420.
“We want the 420 experience at the store and in delivery to be an escape from a year of lockdown restrictions and quarantines and give them a truly normal and quality retail experience, even with masks and safety measures included,” Karban said.
Other parameters in place include a strict adherence to PPE mandates. The company also aims to have a fully vaccinated workforce, so customers feel a higher comfort level at stores.
Lloyd said that BEYOND/HELLO locations are approaching 420 from a “revitalized digital perspective” while capping customers in-store, completing frequent sanitizing and ensuring social distancing remains in place.
The company hopes its recently launched online experience, in-store pickup and delivery options help service customers efficiently while keeping everyone safe.
“Now more than ever, consumers are looking for safe and streamlined online shopping experiences,” said Lloyd, “which is why we offer cutting-edge digital technologies that deliver the kind of flexibility customers want.”