When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when the federal government gifts you a free $1,200 check, buy marijuana. Previous data showed a marijuana sales bump coincided with the coronavirus pandemic in late March, as cannabis users stockpiled products in fear of dispensaries closing. More recent data elicits a new trend — using stimulus checks to celebrate 4/20.
Cannabis intelligence firms have reported an abnormal boost in sales for April 15, the first day Americans could receive stimulus checks, accounting for normal spending increases around 4/20.
Headset Analytics tracked data in several key U.S. cannabis markets prior to the week of 4/20 and compared sales to those in Canadian markets. Retailers typically expect a steady increase in the week prior to the marijuana holiday, with a bigger boost in sales on 4/20 itself. That didn’t happen this year. Instead, Headset saw dramatic sales jumps in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, California, and Colorado on April 15.
Comparing weekday sales to the week prior, Colorado had a 51% increase in cannabis sales. Oregon and Washington saw sales climb 47% and 43%, respectively. In Canada’s Alberta province, there was only a 13% growth in sales.
“In [Alberta] we see sales in fact slightly elevated but not nearly in the same manner as in the US states leading us to conclude that at least a portion of the sales surge on 4/15 was due to stimulus check spending,” Headset analysts wrote.
Akerna, a cannabis compliance provider and intelligence operator, declared April 15 “far and away the biggest Wednesday in the history of legal cannabis” in their business reports. Their data found that total revenue and ticket size (or, the number of products someone purchased) were up over 50% compared to a total Wednesday in 2020.
Online marijuana sales were up as well. Jane Technologies, which collected data from more than 1,300 cannabis retailers through its e-commerce platform, reported a 45% increase in sales on April 15 compared to average weekday sales during the pandemic. Springbig, an industry marketing platform with more than 16 million users, saw even higher numbers, with a 63% bump on that day.