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420 Celebrations Around the Country: The Biggest Day for Marijuana

It feels like Christmas for the country’s legal marijuana stores today. Not only Christmas but all other holidays rolled in to one one smoky party known as 420.

April 20 has for a long time been a day full of civil disobedience by marijuana users, who assemble in public to light up weed at 4:20 p.m. The phrase “420” is a longtime code for marijuana users, who work it into dating profiles or post it on signs to show their common interest. But while it used to be a celebration held using a particular degree of furtiveness, the swiftly growing legalization of cannabis means an increasing number of Americans no longer face critical, if any, punishment for smoking weed.

All states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana also have prohibited public consumption, but those rules in many cases are dismissed on April 20, when crowds assemble on college campuses and central parks to light up. That means huge sales days for shops, particularly in states with operating marijuana marketplaces: Washington, Oregon and Colorado, which could see single-day 420 sales of $20 million.

One of Colorado’s largest marijuana stores, the Medicine Man, anticipated to see more than double the regular number of customers each day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Legalization activists usually stage stunts along with the 420 celebrations.

In Washington, D.C., for example, activists are planning to give out 1,000 marijuana cigarettes to Capitol Hill workers and members of Congress, and then hold a mass “smoke-in” on the Capitol steps Monday. They’re attempting to convince Congress to reauthorize a law prohibiting federal prosecutors from interfering with state-level medical marijuana programs and are also seeking clarity on the way in which the Trump administration will approach voter-approved recreational weed.

While the District of Columbia’s voters have approved recreational marijuana, Congress has prohibited the district from creating any kind of system to allow taxable sales.

In Washington state, marijuana sales are anticipated to easily top last year’s quantity of $4.8 million from April 20, 2016. And the 2016 numbers themselves represented a staggering 200% increase over 2015. According to New Frontier, making a year-to-year comparisons of marijuana sales is challenging since the industry is very fresh and growing so rapidly and because people frequently celebrate 420 on the weekend closest to it, as opposed to the actual day.

But for a lot of customers, there’s an undeniable appeal to say that they purchased legal marijuana for that special day. In Colorado’s cannabis shops, the demand was evident Wednesday: lines snaking through receptions and guards accumulating cash as harried workers raced to complete orders. Many hotels in Denver are sold out, and cannabis tourists were pouring into the state for free concerts and then a gigantic rally outside the Statehouse.

In Nevada, which recently legalized recreational marijuana, even if they still only have stores for medical marijuana, business was likewise expected to be lively.

In Oakland, Calif, marijuana-infused sweets manufacturer Kiva made 60,000 special-edition samples of the company’s low-dose Petra mints and plans to hold 55 sampling occasions around the state this week. And in Tulare County, Calif.’s, only dispensary, Canna Can Help, workers have purchased 1,000 tacos for their planned customer appreciation day this weekend.

Back inside the Medicine Man in Denver, first-time cannabis tourists pronounced themselves astounded at the available variety and choices. Grams of popular forms were selling for $17 plus tax, and like many shops, Medicine Man was offering 420 specials intended for tourists, including pre-rolled joints.

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