• Cultivated
  • Posts
  • 04/20/24 success, hiccups, and normalization

04/20/24 success, hiccups, and normalization

Plus, cannabis politics get a push from the Left

Good morning.

Not all the reviews and data are in for 4/20 yet, but we’re getting a picture that cannabis sales were way up – being a Saturday 4/20 probably didn’t hurt much. 

And as 4/20 wraps up, politics is heating up. As cannabis legalization continues to drive a political wedge between the parties.

Let’s get to it.

- Jeremy Berke & Jay Rosenthal

Today’s newsletter is 1,099 words, or about a 7 minute read. 

💡What’s the big deal?

Busiest day of the year brings success, hiccups, and normalization

Driving the news: By all accounts, Saturday’s 420 was a massive day for the cannabis industry. The combination of a record number of states having come online, the normalization (and commercialization) of the 4/20 holiday, and the holiday falling on a Saturday, seemed to be a winning combination.

By the (incomplete) numbers: While full April sales numbers aren’t available from each jurisdiction until much later, a few of the industry’s leading data and insights companies posted before and after Saturday’s “high” holiday.

Headset posted a simple chart on Sunday that even Michael Scott from The Office could understand. 

Dutchie noted that their system — point-of-sale and ecommerce — “powered over 2 million transactions, representing $165 million in retail commerce – a 50% increase from 2023 4/20…”

Dan Mondello of Rank Really High, a web builder for cannabis retailers, noted that his clients were up 100% year-over-year from single day sales on 4/20. 

Not all smooth sailing: Several technology outages were reported throughout the day, most notably Dutchie. Dutchie confirmed that less than 20% of Dutchie customers experienced any performance issues.

Per MJ Biz Daily: “Several operators told MJBizDaily their Dutchie point-of-sale (POS) software crashed for hours during peak traffic Saturday, halting online and in-store purchases and causing customers to leave stores empty-handed…” 

4/20 goes mainstream: As we wrote yesterday, perhaps the most significant thing to happen on 4/20 was not about selling cannabis, per se. It was about how mainstream and top-of-mind 4/20 was in other industries. Fast-food deals, cannabis-themed movie nights, and full-throated endorsements of cannabis reform from high-ranking federal officials — all moved the 4/20 needle. 

- JR

🗨️ Quote of the day

In March, three, high-ranking Republican Senators sent a letter to the DEA calling on the DEA to consider the implications of running afoul of US-signed treaties on drugs. 

In response, earlier in April, a group of cannabis industry advocacy groups, companies, and leaders sent a letter to Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) James Risch (R-ID), and Pete Ricketts (R-NE): 

“Your letter cites a 1977 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit describing obligations under the Single Convention that would not be met if marijuana were reclassified under schedule III. However, in the many years since the court weighed in, the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to reclassify cannabis in recognition of its medical uses. Moving marijuana to schedule III, as recommended by HHS, simply acknowledges this accepted reality.”

Read more about the back-and-forth in Marijuana Moment.

Progressives want to own cannabis as a campaign issue

What happened: The Congressional Progressive Caucus has published their legislative agenda, and, lo and behold, cannabis is on the agenda

So much so, that the CPC says that if voters put Democrats in charge of Congress and the White House, cannabis could be legalized and records could be expunged

The CPC: The CPC is chaired by Pramila Jayapal of Washington and co-chaired by Ilhan Omar of Michigan, and is largely viewed as the left or far left of the Democratic Party. 

Why it matters: As we have seen in the past several weeks and months, Democrats of all stripes are not shying away from cannabis as either a policy issue or as a political wedge issue. 

President Biden spoke about cannabis reform in his State of the Union address, and the drumbeat from the White House hasn’t stopped, including on Friday when it was once again addressed during the White House Press Briefing

The deepening wedge: Even though cannabis reforms, like banking reform, have bipartisan support, where the cannabis rubber meets the political roads is actually in statehouses. 

The last month alone has seen Republican Governors Glenn Youngkin in Virginia and Ron DeSantis in Florida come out strongly against legalization measures. Youngkin by vetoing a legalization bill in Virginia, and DeSantis by stating his public opposition, in no uncertain terms, against the legalization measure on Florida’s November ballot. 

What’s next: Cannabis is going to be a topic of conversation between now and November’s election. Democrats, like those at Congressional Progressive Caucus, like it as a policy and political issue, and Republicans don’t seem ready to embrace it yet. 

As well, when/if rescheduling is announced from the DEA, expect the issue to be even more front-and-center on the campaign trail. 


Quick hits

Maine aims to rein in allegedly foreign-operated, illicit cannabis cultivation facilities in their state. Now, for the first time, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in China, has been charged with federal drug crimes. 

Utah is seeing a continued rise in people seeking medical cannabis cards. New data from the State Department of Health reveals that more than 83,000 Utahans had medical cards, up 19% year-over-year. 

📊 Chart of the day

Cannabis use is highest among US adults with lower incomes and education levels, according to a new poll from Gallup. It’s important to note that some of those in higher income jobs, like the medical field, may not be able to disclose use. 

😆 One fun thing

4/20 saw plenty of activity from brands inside and outside of cannabis. But Royal Queen Seeds went biggest of all, landing a Times Square billboard on 4/20. The Cultivated team caught up with Royal Queen Seeds’ CEO in Las Vegas late last year. Watch >>

📈 Deals, launches, partnerships

Curaleaf completed their acquisition of Northern Green Canada for $16 million in shares and future considerations of cash and shares. 

A Court-appointed receiver has been named for High Times assets as investors and others look to get paid.

📗 What we’re reading

The math on my weed bill | Money Talks Substack

What did you think of today's Cultivated Daily?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.