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By Associated Press
LOS ANGELES ̵
No, Hallmark has not yet got a card to mark "420", but the once-stop-counter-culture celebration that was all about getting stoned now is so mainstream Corporate America is starting to embrace it. "But many other businesses within 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 driving the booming market.
On Saturday, Lyft is offering a $ 4.20 credit to a single ride in Colorado and in select cities in the US and Canada. Carl's Jr. Using a Denver restaurant to market and hamburger infused with CBD, a non-intoxicating molecule found in cannabis that many believe is beneficial to their health.
In 420 last year, Totino's, a maker of frozen pizza snacks, tweeted a picture of a microwave and an oven with the message: "To be blunt, pizza rolls are better when baked."
"I think brands that associate themselves with the cannabis kind of get that contact high. In other words, they're just considered to be cooler by the association, "said Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at the Golden Gate University. "
Marijuana normalization has snowballed 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.
Meanwhile, the CBD market has exploded. CBD oil can be found in candies, coffee and other food, drinks and dietary supplements, along with perfumes, lotions, creams and soap. Proponents say CBD helps with pain, anxiety and inflammation, although limited scientific research supports these claims.
U.S. Retail sales of cannabis products jumped to $ 10.5 billion last year, a threefold increase from 2017, according to a data from Arcview Group, a Cannabis investment and market research firm.
Ben & Jerry was one of the earliest big brands to foster the connection with marihuana culture through marketing. The Vermont-based ice cream company features Cherry Garcia and Phish Food, honoring the late Grateful Dead member Jerry Garcia and band Phish. Both bands are favorites of the marihuana-smoking crowd.
To mark 420 in recent years, Ben & Jerry's debuted taco and burrito-inspired sandwiches of ice cream. This year the company is partnered with a San Francisco Bay Area cannabis retailer to give customers who place delivery orders on Friday and Saturday free pint of Half Baked, a combination of cookie dough and fudge brownie.
"We have a lot of fun." Jay Curley, the company's global leader in integrated marketing.
Last year, Ben & Jerry also turned more seriously, asking consumers to call on lawmakers to expel before marihuana convictions and press for pardon or amnesty for anyone arrested for smoking pot.
"We're actually using this as a chance not to tell stoner jokes like we have in the past, but to raise what we see as much more serious issue around justice, "Curley said.
Those in the marijuana marketplace are also ramping up advertising around 420. A lot of marketing about cannabis or related products takes the form of online ads, emails, text messages and social media. Shops usually offer discounts. Some host parties with food and entertainment.
Verano Holdings, whose businesses include cannabis shops, sponsors street festivals in Chicago and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where attendees can learn about marihuana products, listen to music and grab a bite. The company expects this Saturday's festival in Chicago, going its third year, will draw more than 4,000 people. Last year, it drew 1,500, said Tim Tennant, Verano's chief marketing officer.
In San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Hippie Hill will again be the site of a 420 celebration.
Roger Volodarsky, whose Los Angeles-based company has been involved in the event, based Puffco makes portable vaporizers, has celebrated 420 since he was a teenager. Back then, he said, "420 was the day that you splurged yourself and got high in interesting ways. It was the day that you made a gravity bong and coughed your brains out. "
Volodarksy likes that some of the Main Street brands are getting into the industry and the holiday.
" What is important to me about these ad campaigns is they 're talking to people who are not users and they're normalizing the space for people who are not users,' he said.
Even as the popularity grows, some companies will stay away from the 420 as a marketing tool, said Allen Adamson, a co-founder of Metaforce, a marketing consulting company.
"If you're talking about a big brand that needs to appeal to everybody and is very risk averse, then probably not," he said. "I do not think you'll see big financial institutions doing it."