It was a bumper 420 for marijuana sales in America: total retail cannabis sales in 2016 were in excess of $37.5M - nearly a 30 percent increase in customer traffic over last year's holiday.
But that doesn't mean everyone embraces April 20th as a way to celebrate cannabis culture, writes John Schroyer of the Marijuana Business Daily. "Many companies don't do anything special for 420, saying it doesn't align with their focus," she writes.
The April holiday is especially passé in the medical community, who find the smoke-wreathed celebrations don't jive with the image they're trying to promote. Others see the holiday, with its popularity among the underage set, as "one of the best ways to make negative progress in the battle to make the plant legal."
Perhaps it's high time to consider some new, arbitrary dates on which to celebrate our love of the green stuff. Here are five that may or may not catch on.
1. June 18: Jack Herer's Birthday
The late, great "Emperor of Hemp," and the author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes spent much of his life agitating for the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis: for this reason, Leafly has proposed commemorating Herer and other cannabis activists on the Hemperor's birthday, June 18. "To honor Jack and all of the others who have pushed the plant forward," writes Leafly, "we suggest smoking some Jack Herer, the sativa-dominant strain bred by Sensi Seed and named for the man himself." You could also leave some, ahem, flowers, on Herer's final resting place in Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.
2. July 10: Dab Day
While the origins of 420 remain relatively difficult to trace, the rationale for celebrating oils and concentrates on July 10 is much more straightforward: the word "OIL," when flipped upside-down, reads "710." According to High Times: "A strong consensus is building within our community that the date July 10th should henceforth be recognized as a day to celebrate the wonderful world of oils and concentrates. In other words, July 10 will now be known as "Dab Day." Celebrate by dabbing your favourite concentrates with your friends, and the innovations in modern hash-making that are resulting in some of the most potent, pure cannabis products the world has ever seen.
3. August 2: Marihuana Tax Act Day
A dark day in the history of American cannabis: the August 2, 1937 introduction of the Marihuana Tax Act was the day the American hemp industry, and the production and sale of cannabis sativa, was effectively kiboshed for all but a select few: the Boulder Weekly has called the Act the "most heinous and destructive thing in the history of cannabis prohibition." After the Act went into effect on October 1, 1937, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Denver City police made its first convictions on marijuana tax-related charges, and continued its lurid national propaganda campaign against the "evil weed." Given the legacy of the date, August 2 should be designated a day of solidarity with those who remain incarcerated as a result of antiquated anti-cannabis laws.
4. September 21: International Day of Peace
Marijuana has been, since its adoption by hippies in the 1960s, a symbol of peace, love, and good vibes: why not wrap cannabis celebrations into those which honour of the International Day of Peace? The UN calls the observance, marked internationally on September 21 since 1982, a "day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples [...] [the UN] invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day." Given the number of casualties that continues to grow as a direct result of America's War on Drugs, a message of peace should be one dear to the hearts of cannabis lovers.
5. December 10: Legalization Day
On December 10, 2013, in a pioneering gesture, Uruguay's Senate voted16–13 in favour of legalizing cannabis: other countries have gradually started to follow suit. December 10 could celebrate the advances that have been made in legalizing the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana - especially as North American jurisdictions develop regulations and guidelines for their own legalization projects, looking to Uruguay's example as a potential guide.