Ravon Williams

If you’ve been smoking weed prior to recreational legalization (don’t worry, I’m not a narc), chances are that you love, or loved, April 20th, widely known as 4/20. It’s a bona fide cultural phenomenon within the cannabis community. This day, symbolizing a universal nod to cannabis consumption and advocacy, holds a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts and activists alike. It’s not a major holiday that your calendar highlights like Christmas or the fourth of July, but a day that avid consumers enjoy when it comes around. However, once recreational legalization took flight, the day lost a bit of appeal. 

I’m not necessarily an old person, but I’ve been smoking for long enough to have enjoyed 4/20 prior to it being tainted by the recreational market. For me, 4/20 meant getting together with all your friends, rolling as much weed as you could get your hands on, and having the ultimate smoke session that pretty much lasted an entire day. 

Now, if you’re a consumer who pays attention to prices and selection before shopping, 4/20 is the day to scour the internet for the best deals in your area. Shout out to the good folks on Reddit’s r/bostontrees forum who put out a lot of information on what the deals are. Nothing like getting the information you need without having to do the heavy lifting. But if no one steps up this year and makes a list of the deals, you’ll probably end up perusing menus of your go-to dispensaries to see who’s got the best bang for your buck. 

When the state made weed recreationally legal and dispensaries started to gain traction, there was an undeniable shift in 4/20’s culture. What was once a day to get together with your fellow smokers and chill found itself entangled in the tendrils of commercialization. A day that symbolized the experience of getting high, has been taken over by marketing strategies and sales. Most dispensaries and cannabis businesses, eager to capitalize on the day, release a slew of deals and promotions to draw crowds, not with the idea of embracing cannabis culture, but with the allure of releasing new and discounted products (that aren’t always good). 

This commercialization has diluted the day’s experience, turning it into another chance for cannabis businesses to engage with the market. It’s ruined the affinity that’s kept the day so popular for decades. For many, or myself at least, the essence of 4/20 is now clouded by a haze of consumerism, where the day is being overshadowed by the thought of “who has the best deal?”

Also, let me be clear here. I’m not saying it’s bad to buy weed on a 4/20 deal. Cannabis businesses would be stupid to not try and do something to celebrate the essence of the day. Every dispensary will have a deal or promotion of some sort and you’d be remiss not to take advantage of one. The important part is how they do it. Are they just selling old weed for a cheaper price? Are they selling fresh weed for an affordable price? Are they educating customers on the cultural relevance of 4/20? 

Working in the industry, I think I have a larger gripe with this topic than most folks. Being in the thick of it (the industry) has given me a new perspective on 4/20. It’s the biggest day in the industry throughout the entire state. Lines are out the door, sales are bumping, and consumers are happy buying weed to celebrate the day. It’s still a day where loads of people consume cannabis, but it’s just not the same anymore. I encourage everyone to go out, get the best deal they can and have a great session with their friends!