Potheads have long celebrated their love of marijuana on April 20, but the once counter-culture celebration that was all about getting stoned now is so mainstream Corporate America is starting to embrace it, the Associated Press reports. Hallmark doesn’t have a card to mark “420,” but many other businesses inside and outside the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry are using April 20, or 4/20, to roll out marketing and social media messaging aimed at connecting with consumers who are driving the booming market. On Saturday, Lyft is offering a $4.20 credit on a single ride in Colorado and in select cities in the U.S. and Canada. Carl’s Jr. is using a Denver restaurant to market a hamburger infused with CBD, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis that many believe is beneficial to their health.
“I think brands that associate themselves with cannabis kind of get that contact high. In other words, they’re just considered to be cooler by association,” said Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University. “As pot becomes more legal, more discussed, more interesting to people, more widely used, then 420 becomes more mainstream as well.” Marijuana normalization has risen markedly since 2012, when Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational use. Eight more followed, including California, Oregon and Michigan. Medical marijuana is legal in two-thirds of the states, with conservative-leaning Utah and Oklahoma among recent additions. The CBD market has exploded. CBD oil can be found in candies, coffee and other food, drinks and dietary supplements, along with perfume, lotions, creams and soap. U.S. retail sales of cannabis products jumped to $10.5 billion last year, a threefold increase from 2017, reports Arcview Group, a cannabis investment and market research firm. The figures do not include retail sales of hemp-derived CBD products.