Cannabis companies across the United States reported a mixed bag for sales this year leading up to the industry’s most celebrated day: 4/20.
While the surge of consumer stockpiling based on concerns about the coronavirus pandemic boosted some companies’ bottom lines, others were hurt by restrictive stay-at-home orders that prevented in-person sales.
Marijuana Business Daily surveyed business owners from around the country to get a sense of how this year’s sales for April 20, the unofficial cannabis holiday, compared to previous years – and whether the COVID-19 outbreak caused any significant changes.
Here’s a sampling of those responses:
Raul Molina, chief operating officer, Mint Dispensary, Phoenix
Sales increased year-over-year, up to 60%. April 17 through April 20, we welcomed over 6,000 patients at our dispensaries.
David Elias, founder and CEO, Lowell Herb Co., Los Angeles
We hit our sales goals for both March and April, and we recognize we are fortunate to be in that position.
We’re grateful … to the local authorities for deeming cannabis an essential business so we can continue serving our customers and patients during arguably one of the most challenging periods of our lifetime.
Kyle Kazan, CEO, Glass House Group, El Segundo, California
We continue to successfully expand our delivery capabilities to meet growing consumer demands. … Overall, our business is up 111% year-over-year. For the week of 4/20, we saw a 400% increase in delivery sales and double-digit growth across brick-and-mortar retail operations year-over-year.
Dennis O’Malley, CEO, Caliva, San Jose, California
Our 4/20 sales this year exceeded last year’s, with the largest increase coming through our delivery business.
We saw a three-times increase in delivery orders compared to 4/20 delivery sales in 2019.
George Sadler, president, Platinum, San Diego
Our sales overall are up 40% in Q1 compared to last year. We were slammed on 4/20. Our sales are up across the board for all of our SKUs, which include THC-infused chocolate bars, gummy coins and vapes.
We’ve pushed forward, continued to expand into other markets and found ways to work around social distancing with innovative marketing tactics. We are not retreating.
Christian Schenk, CEO, Driven Deliveries, San Diego
We are applying mass force and have continued to hire talent, increase investments in marketing and continue our consolidation strategy – including the above-mentioned dispensary plan as well as manufacturing and increased distribution to maintain supply chain and bolster gross-margin contributions.
Tara Wells, co-founder, Ganja Goddess, Los Angeles
Year-over-year, our sales were significantly higher – historically so. California customers really went all-in on delivery. This year, our revenue was up 275% and total orders were up about 350% from last year.
For the week of 4/20, our revenue was also up by an astounding 238% and total orders were up 250% from 2019.
In addition, our revenue for the week of 4/20 (April 13-20) was up 164% over the previous week, and total orders for 4/20 week were up 165% over the previous week.
Amy Zunzunegui, founder and CEO, Wldkat, Irvine, California
We have definitely had to rethink our go-to-market strategy and shift some of the launch budget around due to COVID-19.
There were going to be six SKUs (stock keeping units) total for the 4/20 launch. However, two of them have been delayed until mid-May as a result of their components being made in China. That packaging was due to go into production right during the time that the shutdown happened in China.
Lisa Gee, director of marketing & corporate social responsibility, Lightshade, Denver
Sales were down by a little more than 10%.
But considering that 4/20 fell on a Monday this year versus Saturday in 2019 – as well as the operational limitations we were held to due to the coronavirus – we are pleasantly surprised by that result.
We saw a decrease in overall in-store traffic on 4/20 but observed the business spread out over the previous weekend with larger cart sizes.
Steve Lopez, CEO, The Green Solution, Denver
Sales were up in Q1, and we exceeded our sales goals. Q2 has fluctuated substantially due to the pandemic and ever-evolving regulatory changes.
We have seen steady business over the past few weeks as we’ve settled into new protocols but are still experiencing very erratic sales daily as our customers adjust, changing their spending habits and typically stocking up on more product at once to decrease regular store visits.
Mark de Souza, CEO, Revolution Global, Chicago
Revolution has continued to see year-over-year increases in sales, including a 160% increase this year above last year’s 4/20.
In Illinois, like many states where cannabis is legal, dispensaries are considered essential businesses.
Though the mood of this 4/20 was subdued, March and April have been our strongest retail-sales months to date.
Chanda Macias, CEO, National Holistic Healing Center, Washington, DC
4/20 sales were down from last year by 30%, but there was a net increase of sales through the third week of April. Sales increased (that week) by 14% compared to last year’s sales.
Brandon Wiegand, regional general manager, The Source, Las Vegas
Sales were way down from 4/20 last year. … We saw a decrease of over 80% in business. We expect to see a whipsaw effect as measures are loosened.
We know that the demand is still there, and it is the social-distancing measures that have made it more difficult to meet that demand.
Marissa Novel, chief marketing officer, Ultra Health, Bernalillo, New Mexico
Compared to 4/20 last year, our sales were flat. This was a positive surprise, as this year we chose to not offer 4/20 promotions or events in light of COVID-19.
Additionally, this year 4/20 was our biggest Monday ever, and the first three weeks of April are looking promising.
We’re busier now than we have been during any other month since we started in 2014. April 2020 is looking to be up over 50% from April 2019 sales.
Hillary Peckham, chief operating officer, Etain Health, New York
This year we ran a monthlong sale to allow people to benefit from our originally planned 4/20/2020 sale day without having to put people at risk with crowded lines and wait times in the dispensary.
Delivery is an increasingly popular option for patients, and we have been expanding our delivery service rapidly to meet that demand. Particularly in New York City, where public transit has been hugely impacted by the coronavirus, more and more patients are turning to our delivery service to place orders.
John Ford, vice president of customer experience, Chalice Farms, Portland, Oregon
This year we really wanted to take advantage of the entire month being 4/2020 and create a more significant celebration of cannabis culture, which included monthlong promotions and 4/20 specials spread across one week, rather than one day.
Expanding our 4/20 deals throughout the month gave our customers the opportunity to take advantage of product specials that appealed to them and avoid large crowds to comply with social-distancing regulations. We also focused quite a bit on our express pickup and delivery options, which helped expand our sales channels.
Katie Stem, CEO, Peak Extracts, Portland, Oregon
The sales from Q1 this year versus last year are up more than 50% after a huge surge in March pre-quarantine.
April has taken a big dive but will likely end up at about average for the month.
We’re hoping to have a fairly normal Q2 and Q3. Although we’re still up so far, we’re trying to pivot to build more online/hemp sales and expand our product line available for nationwide shipping.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Bart Schaneman can be reached at [email protected]
For more about marketing lessons cannabis businesses learned on 4/20, click here.
For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.