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Last Week’s 4/20 Sales Reached $182 Million; Licensed Sales Still Lagging Behind Potential

Retail sales of cannabis and related merchandise reached $182 million during the 4/20 holiday period (4/18–4/20), up 30% from the same period last year, according to MJ Freeway. The actual day (a Saturday) garnered $80 million in sales, of which 45.3% was for flowers, 39% for cartridges/pens, 12% for concentrates, and 10% for edibles. The largest share of dollar sales were by men (62%) and 30- to 40-year-olds. The average order amount was almost $110 for 3.56 products.

The global cannabis technology and data company’s 4/20 data is based across 14 U.S. states (AK, AZ, CA, CO, FL, MA, MD, MI, MT, NV, OR, PA, VT, WA), the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In which states is cannabis legalized, and for what? We charted it out for you.

TLL estimates that licensed retail sales of cannabis and related accessories totaled roughly $90 million in the U.S. in 2018. We covered the fledging cannabis industry in 2016 and 2017 as it took its first steps into the big, corporate world. Since then, not much has changed. In part, this is because of different state-by-state legal regulations, tax rates, and packaging requirements; roughly identical products can have 100–300% markups across different state lines.

Surprisingly, America’s northern neighbor counts similar levels of sales; Recreational sales of dried and fresh cannabis flower, pre-rolls, oils, and capsules became legal only in October 2018. Per StatsCan, industry sales of marijuana totaled C$105 million ($79 million) in January and February 2019. In comparison, total cannabis spending at U.S. dispensaries in 2018 reached $10.5 billion, according to cannabis research firm BDS Analytics.

Most licensed brands are for celebrities like singers, actors, and chefs—key examples include Marley Natural (Bob Marley), Whoopi & Maya (Whoopi Goldberg), Etheridge Farms (Melissa Etheridge), Willie’s Reserve (Willie Nelson), Leafs by Snoop (Snoop Dogg), Khalifa Kush (Wiz Khalifa), and Mindy’s Edibles (Mindy Segal).

What We’re Reading ‘Round the Web

Despite billions in retail sales, there are no real national brands. That’s expected to change with a series of M&A agreements contingent on federal legalization. Experts expect legalization to happen in the next several years. Mergermarket

Hash, hot drinks, and candy are set to land on Canadian shelves when the government legalizes edibles and concentrates in the coming months. Such goods lend themselves to licensing more than smoke-able flowers, for example, which can be difficult for brands to scale. BNN Bloomberg

Celebrity backing is being increasingly viewed as critical when it comes to overcoming consumer’s misconceptions, smoothing over cash flow issues, and navigating an uncertain marketing landscape. Forbes

But it’s not all big stars. Shut out of traditional media, some cannabis companies are leaning on social media influencers to get the word out. MG Retailer

Melissa Etheridge is perhaps best-known for her infused wine, but non-alcoholic beverage options are exploding in popularity. The latest innovation? Seltzer. Brewbound


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