Six Cannabis Holidays Your Dispensary Should Plan For

Marijuana Plant

For decades, April 20th, 4/20 has been known as the main holiday for the cannabis community. There are also several other cannabis-related holidays that are commonly celebrated.

Cannabis has already been legalized for medical use in 39 states and the District of Columbia, and fully legalized for recreational use in 21 states and the District of Columbia. With public acceptance of cannabis growing each year, there are plenty of holidays for your dispensary to plan for.

These are the most widely recognized cannabis holidays. Here is a look at their origins and the meanings behind each day.

4/20 – April 20th

“420” represents cannabis use, but the origin of this phrase started in 1971 with five friends at San Rafael High School in Marin County. The group of friends, known as The Waldos met at 4:20 one day to smoke cannabis and search for a marijuana crop, using a map given to Waldo Steve by a friend whose brother was growing on the down low.

The friends would use the phrase “420 Louie” as a code word for the cannabis quest, which they eventually shortened to just “420”. Interestingly enough, this phrase spread via word of mouth, and later a Grateful Dead poster, through the Bay Area, California, and eventually the entire world.

Today, 4/20 is a symbol of cannabis culture for enthusiasts worldwide. Cannabis-centered events nationwide and internationally all happen on April 20th. The day is so synonymous with cannabis culture that longtime marijuana advocate Willie Nelson even called on President Biden to make 4/20 a national holiday in 2021.

Needless to say, 4/20 is like Christmas for dispensaries. According to the data company Headset, April 20th has consistently been the biggest sales day fin the US every year since 2016.

Be prepared at your dispensary for enormous sales as April 20th draws near.

June 18th – Jack Herer’s Birthday

Jack Herer, aka “The Hemperor”, was one of the main cannabis activists of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. He founded and served as the director of the organization Help End Marijuana Prohibition, or “HEMP”. His book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes laid the groundwork for cannabis legalization. Jack Herer did so much for cannabis culture that a particularly potent strain of Cannabis Sativa is named for him. The strains Jack Diesel, Critical Jack, and Super Jack are all named after him.

In 2016, Leafly suggested that Jack Herer’s birthday be recognized as a cannabis holiday to celebrate and recognize the work of cannabis activists throughout history. Without Jack Herer’s tireless advocacy and work, cannabis might not be legalized today.

July 10th – National Dab Day – Oil and Concentrates Day

710 is a holiday dedicated to concentrates, hash oil, dabs, and THC oil. If you flip the letters “OIL” upside-down, then that looks like “710”.

According to legend, the 710 holiday started in chat rooms and Faceook posts, and was coined by the Salt Lake City rapper, Task Rok. In 2011, Task Rok and Dj Linus Stubbs released their album, The Movement, with most of the tracks dedicated to extolling the virtues of butane hash oil and concentrates. Today, Task Rok has a company that sells titanium nails made specifically for hash oil.

If your choice of cannabis-derived products is concentrates, hash oil, vape concentrates, dab pens, kief, or shatter, 710 is the holiday for you.

August 8th – National CBD Day

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 active cannabinoids found in cannabis. You cannot get high from using CBD, but many people use it for medicinal purposes. Studies have shown it reduces anxiety, is an anti-inflammatory agent, and is helpful in reducing myofascial pain. It is legal at the federal level, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, so long as it derived from hemp grown by a licensed, state and federally approved farm. CBD products must also contain less than 0.3 percent THC.

However, in Nebraska and South Dakota, CBD is still illegal at the state level. Idaho only allows CBD with 0.0% THC.

Despite these three states restricting CBD, the cannabis derivative is a multi-million dollar industry. Some FDA-approved medicines also use CBD in their formulas.

In 2019, the first National CBD Day was observed. The North Carolina-based manufacturer, cbdMD, campaigned for this holiday to raise awareness of the medicinal properties of CBD for mental and physical heath.

October 5th – Victims of Prohibition Commemoration

On October 2nd, 1937, the U.S. government enacted the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act, essentially outlawing the cultivation and distribution of cannabis. Days later, Moses Baca and Samuel R. Caldwell were arrested by the FBI and Denver police in two separate raids, for avoiding the tax. Baca was sentenced to 18 months, but Caldwell was sentenced to four years hard labor in Leavenworth Prison.

Caldwell died shortly after being released from Leavenworth, at the age of 61. Baca and Caldwell are believed to be the first people in the US arrested for cannabis, with thousands more to follow in the decades afterwards.

Though the Stamp Tax was deemed unconstitutional in the 1969 case, Leary vs. United States, as a violation of the Fifth Amendment, it was quickly replaced with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. In that time, many people were arrested, fined, and incarcerated.

On October 5th, we commemorate the people who have been persecuted and faced life-changing consequences for their cannabis use, cultivation, and advocacy.

Nov 6th – Legalization Day

On November 6th, 2012 the states of Washington and Colorado both passed laws legalizing the sale and use of cannabis for recreational purposes. This was a historical precedent, especially considering how vilified cannabis use had been up to this point. The importance of these laws passing is that public perception about cannabis use had turned a corner.

Since then, nineteen other states have passed laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Several more states are working on legislation to legalize recreational use, and only thirteen states have not legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use. Of those thirteen, two states have partially decriminalized marijuana.

Also, several international countries have gone on to enact drug reform. The groundbreaking legislation has had a long-lasting, still rippling impact.

Other Noteworthy Cannabis Sales Days

These are not part of the recognized cannabis-related holidays shown above, but are also some of the biggest sales days of the year for dispensaries nationwide.

Green Wednesday – Day Before Thanksgiving

The Wednesday right before Thanksgiving is known in the cannabis world as Green Wednesday. This is the second biggest sales day of the year for dispensaries, right below 4/20. In 2021, dispensaries did over 98 million dollars on Green Wednesday.

Green Wednesday is essentially the Black Friday for cannabis retailers, and most dispensaries have plenty of sales promotions planned around this day.

The Green Wednesday concept only dates back to 2016, when a cannabis delivery service noticed a sharp uptick in sales on the day before Thanksgiving.

Labor Day – First Monday in September

For many dispensaries, September is one of the busiest months in the year, fueled by the three-day Labor Day weekend. According to a report by Cannabis Business Executive, the Labor Day weekend is the biggest selling multi-day period of the year of many dispensaries. Be sure to plan accordingly, and run promotions through social media, email, and other marketing channels to take advantage of this major sales holiday.

July 4th – Independence Day

Another major sales holiday for cannabis dispensaries is the Fourth of July. Next to 4/20, Green Wednesday, and Labor Day, the Independence Day weekend is one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year for many dispensaries.

Notes on Merchandising for Cannabis Holidays

If you are promoting specials for any of the cannabis or regular holidays, be sure to make customers aware of these promotions. Leverage your email marketing to announce upcoming sales well in advance. Regularly follow up as the sales event draws closer.

Look at past data for previous sales on those days to project what staff you will need to handle customer flow.

Decorate the store and put up any special displays before the holiday event. Direct foot traffic to specific displays that you want to accentuate.

You can also use loyalty programs to encourage extra sales during the holiday sales promotion.

Finally, make sure your product displays are as attractive as possible. Many new customers will have their first sales experience at your dispensary during a holiday sales promotion. By creating a positive first impression with your merchandising and customer service, you may end up winning some customers for life.

Need Help With Dispensary Merchandising Displays?

For more than 25 years, Bud Bar Displays has been designing award-winning retail displays and store fixtures. Our team of specialists was assembled with one goal in mind – to help cannabis dispensaries display products in a professional manner and increase their overall revenue. Dispensaries around the world use our line of display jars, store fixtures, and POP displays to highlight their product lines.

Whatever your display needs, we can help you determine exactly how to design a memorable customer experience.

If you need help with choosing the right product displays for your dispensary, contact the team at Bud Bar Displays, or call us at (916) 858-2000.


Changing Your Dispensary From Medical to Recreational

3Fifteen Cannabis displays

If you are running a dispensary in a state where medical cannabis is legal, and your state is introducing legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use, this resource is for you.

Making the switch from a medical marijuana dispensary to a recreational cannabis dispensary will require some planning and oversight. This article will give you some items to consider for your pre-switch checklist. First, here are some facts on legalized cannabis in the US.

Which states have legalized recreational cannabis?

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use for adults: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Recreational cannabis is also legal in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Oklahoma is voting on recreational cannabis legalization in early 2023.

Which states have legalized cannabis for medical use?

As of November 2022, 37 states have legalized the medical use of cannabis in some capacity: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Also, the District of Columbia and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands have all legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Considerations When Moving from Medical to Recreational Dispensary

Here are some things the dispensary ownership and management must address when making this change.

Applying for a new license

Medical cannabis and recreational cannabis are two separate categories. States that have approved recreational use require a new license for adult-use cannabis sales. Some other things you will need to check.

  • Some local ordinances require a recreational dispensary to be a minimum distance from churches and schools. Find out if you need to find new commercial space, or whether you can stay in the same location.
  • Licensing availability. Some states prioritize recreational licensing for medical marijuana dispensaries ahead of brand-new dispensaries.
  • The licensing for recreational cannabis sales may be more than medical marijuana sales. Research how much you will need to spend on the new license.
  • Find out what paperwork and documentation you will need to gather for state and local licensing.
  • Delivery and Curbside Pickup. Although this is not legal in every state, in states where this is common, your customers will expect this service. Some local jurisdictions will require special licensing for these services.

Changes in Inventory

Each state has their own regulations regarding medical and recreational cannabis sales. Some states may require products to be sold under one category or the other, but not both. A few states allow for cannabis products to be sold under either category.

If your state requires separate inventories for medical marijuana and recreational cannabis, you may choose to move strictly to recreational, or carry two sets of product inventory, according to local potency laws and regulations.

Pricing and Local Regulations

Some states may have limits on recreational cannabis sales and the amount of cash a dispensary may have on hand. Additional taxes that are levied specifically on recreational-use cannabis products may also be applied to your sales. These can include state excise tax, sales tax, regional/local tax, and federal taxes.

Local Compliance

Most states have their own compliance programs for selling cannabis. Some states allow dispensaries to be enrolled as both a medical and recreational simultaneously (in states where recreational use is legal.) Check with your local and regional regulating bodies to find out what they require from your dispensary to make the switch from medical to recreational cannabis sales.

Store Layout and Customer Flow

All dispensaries have a check-in area, where state ID is verified, before customers enter the main sales floor. Some dispensaries that are set up strictly for medical marijuana sales have a point where customers pay for their purchase, and then go to another station where their order is fulfilled and picked up, like a pharmacy. If your dispensary is moving to strictly recreational sales, this portion of the overall floor may be repurposed for additional inventory or dispensary displays. If your dispensary will serve recreational and medical customers concurrently, you may adjust the waiting room to have these customers follow a different flow.

Staff Training

Making the change to a recreational cannabis dispensary will require some updated training for your budtenders and other staff. With an expanded product line, the staff will need to be more knowledgeable about new products, potencies, and effects.

For state compliance policies, staff will also need to be aware of how to track sales and customer categories.

Lastly, moving to a recreational sales model will likely cause a sustained spike in customers. Since there are less restrictions on recreational sales vs medical sales, more customers will show up on a regular basis. This influx of new and returning customers may necessitate hiring additional budtenders.

Dispensary Displays and Fixture Experts

For more than 25 years, Bud Bar Displays has been helping dispensary owners with innovative product displays. Our product line of dispensary cabinets, cannabis display pods, concentrate displays, and other dispensary displays are used in dispensaries worldwide.

Our award-winning team is ready to help you find the perfect configuration of retail cannabis displays for your shop. You can order online directly from our e-commerce store, reach out via email, or call us directly at (916) 858-2000.

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