Article by Andy Palalas and Omar Khan, Toronto Sun
For those not familiar with the term, “420” is celebrated every April 20 at precisely 4:20 p.m. and is an annual celebration of all things related to cannabis culture.
It is believed to have originated in California in the early 1970s, after a group of young people started to meet daily at 4:20 each afternoon to partake in what was then an illegal activity in their state. Eventually one of them began working with the Grateful Dead as a roadie, and the band helped popularize the term, making April 20 the unofficial cannabis holiday it is today.
In Canada, “420” was for years marked by protests in support of cannabis legalization. Since the Trudeau government moved to legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults in 2018, the annual holiday has become more of a celebration, even as some activists push for further liberalization of cannabis laws around the world.
Unfortunately, pandemic restrictions are putting a damper on “420” celebrations for the second year in a row. Like other retailers, legal cannabis stores have been faced with shifting consumer behaviour coupled with government-imposed capacity limits and, in some provinces, a total shutdown of in-store sales, forcing consumers to rely on home delivery or curbside pickup options.
What is unique to the cannabis sector, however, is the fact that licensed retailers must still compete with an entrenched illicit market and, in some provinces, competition from government-owned e-commerce platforms.