Cannabis retailers and delivery services tried their best, but they just couldn't keep up with the demand from consumers on 4/20.
April 20 - or 4/20 as it's commonly referred to - is undoubtedly the marijuana industry's biggest day. So it's no surprise that a lot of weed was bought, sold and smoked last Saturday. But even though licensed retailers and couriers knew there would be a huge spike in cannabis purchases last weekend, many couldn't supply enough weed to meet consumer demand.
For example, America's biggest cannabis delivery service - Eaze - saw its website crash repeatedly after announcing that they would be offering free cannabis deliveries on Saturday.
While Eaze was hit the hardest, the websites for other cannabis couriers like Nugg and Chill also struggled to serve a flood of unexpected traffic on 4/20. Meanwhile, retailers saw massive lineups throughout Saturday.
"The volume was unprecedented—cannabis has definitely gone mainstream," an Eaze spokesperson told The Guardian. "The lines to dispensaries across California were out the door."
The same thing happened across Canada, which is celebrating its first 4/20 since legalizing recreational cannabis last October. Canada has faced chronic supply shortages since last fall, so it's not surprising that the government reported a number of fan favorite products were sold out across the country.
"Health Canada is aware of reports of localized shortages of cannabis products in some markets and for some product lines," a spokesperson told The Guardian.
Cannabis businesses weren't the only ones cashing in on what has become the industry's busiest sales day. A number of companies that aren't in the business of selling cannabis nevertheless capitalized on the 4/20 buzz by offering special deals for the day. Pizza Hut, Lyft and Ben & Jerry's are just a few examples of companies that offered 4/20 specials on their products over the weekend.
The fact that big-name businesses are getting in on the 4/20 hype is a sure sign that marijuana is becoming both increasingly normalized and commercial. As one analyst explains, 4/20 may still be about cannabis culture at its core, but it's also clearly a business opportunity.
"It's still a celebration of marijuana but the conversation has been expanded by brands that tie into the cannabis industry and for marketers to tie into something that has a coolness to it," said Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University.
And for those looking to normalize and destigmatize cannabis consumption, the mass popularity of 4/20 this year is a good sign of progress. Let's just hope that legal businesses are a little more prepared next year to meet the unprecedented uptick in demand.