Marijuana advocates and enthusiasts have a lot to celebrate on this year’s unofficial cannabis holiday 4/20.
State-level legalization has continued to spread in 2021—adding New York, Virginia and New Mexico to the list of adult-use states within the span of weeks. Congressional leaders are on the verge of introducing legislation to end federal prohibition, and Democrats are in control of both chambers plus the White House, raising hopes that comprehensive reform will be enacted this session.
But one thing hasn’t changed in 2021: companies and organizations are still doing their most to promote brands and products with marijuana-themed promotions and events on April 20.
And it makes sense. Cannabis reform is popular, with a new national poll finding a record 69 percent of Americans in favor of legalization. Plus, more adults have access to marijuana products to safely and legally enjoy the festivities, even if things still look a little different amid the pandemic.
The result of all of this is a lot of businesses and organizations trying to get in on the action, including those that aren’t necessarily tied directly to the cannabis industry.
Here’s a rundown of major brands that are celebrating 4/20:
Ben & Jerry’s
Keeping with a theme it set out last year, ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s is using its platform to promote federal marijuana reform. Digital billboards and a van covered in advertising promoting the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act could be seen in the nation’s capitol, paid for by the activist-minded business.
Have you ever noticed that most people making money from legal cannabis are white, while most of those still locked up for possession charges are Black? We think that’s wrong. Take action to support the MORE Act now: https://t.co/yH1t5PKkzB #420 #MOREAct pic.twitter.com/m69u50kNvl
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) April 19, 2021
And in partnership with the ACLU, Ben & Jerry’s is launching a call-to-action, asking Americans to text “MORE” to 40456 “to show their support of the MORE Act.”
When you see the numbers, you can't deny that cannabis legalization has consistently left people of color behind — and in many cases behind bars. Learn more and take action to support the #MOREAct here: https://t.co/D3rsTpHaYz pic.twitter.com/wyLnmFtEab
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) April 19, 2021
The sandwich company is inviting enthusiasts to engage with its social media feeds on 4/20 for a chance to win limited-edition merchandise—a bean bag chair modeled after its signature jalepeno chips.
They will also be streaming a “wake & bake” session on their Instagram live account that features actor and comedian Rob Huebel taking viewers through a “guided breaditation” that involves “vibe-filled, euphemism-filled, bread-science-filled words of introspection.”
Up until 4:20am on 4/20, people who book hotel reservations through Hotels.com can send an email with their confirmation receipt to [email protected] for a chance to win a $200 room service credit… or “munchie money.”
“The perks included as part of this Munchie Money deal are truly the culmination of all the best aspects of being a Hotels.com rewards member,” Jennifer Dohm, head of PR, said. “From late checkout to a bonus night stay, onlyHotels.com allows you to get rewarded just for reserving a stay. Getting your massive room service spread covered doesn’t hurt either!”
The plant-based food company is getting in on the holiday as well, offering a $420 giveaway to select Instagram followers who send them a message showing a receipt for any product that ends in $4.20.
“You can buy literally anything from anywhere, and any variation of $4.20 counts (ex: $64.20, $114.20, etc),” Nuggs said. “Remember, we said we MIGHT send you $420… winners will be randomly selected over the next few days and notified via IG DM.”
The dog toy and treat business is back at it again with another round of 4/20 themed dog goodies. Get a “spinach burrito,” “spice grinder” or a “single maple leaf” for your furry friend.
“In honor of the upcoming very normal April 20th in this very normal month, we would like to direct your attention to these very normal toys available for a limited time,” BarkBox said in a blog post. “We sourced these toys from a totally normal farm owned by a totally normal Jared, a farmer.”
Slim Jim is latching onto the converging 4/20 and DogeCoin trends to raise money for World Central Kitchen.
1️⃣Go here & bid this charity NFT to the Moon: https://t.co/uz9sKoSJkH
2️⃣RT this post like crazy!
— Slim Jim 🚀 (@SlimJim) April 20, 2021
Snickers is also trying to ride the Doge and cannabis wave.
— SNICKERS (@SNICKERS) April 19, 2021
The TV station is launching a new marijuana-themed version of the cooking competition show Chopped.
— Funch (@RonFunches) April 13, 2021
Paramount+ also wants you to stay home and watch TV today.
— Paramount+ (@paramountplus) April 20, 2021
Grand Theft Auto
Rockstar Games is offering free virtual gifts and bonuses in GTA Online.
4/20 Gifts and Bonuses in GTA Online
Get these Rockstar Camo shirts by playing today, plus get a free High Flyer Parachute Bag from Ammu-Nation, and more.
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) April 20, 2021
Call of Duty
Cannabis-themed items launched in Black Ops Cold War and Warzone.
— ModernWarzone ☢️ (@ModernWarzone) April 17, 2021
The burger joint with a reputation for attracting cannabis enthusiasts is promoting its $4.20 Muncheese meal and offering free deliveries through UberEats for orders of $15 or more.
— White Castle (@WhiteCastle) April 20, 2021
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
The beer company launched a new ale to commemorate the Waldos, the group California teens who began the 420 craze in the 1970s.
Back in 1971 on a wall in West Marin, The Waldos met at 4:20 to head out on a hunt for a secret garden. They did so daily but never found it. In honor of their quest, we brew our dankest & hoppiest beer, the #WaldosSpecialAle, for all the treasure hunters: https://t.co/IUVYGvuuFV pic.twitter.com/nO8hiCNwX7
— LAGUNITAS BREWING CO (@lagunitasbeer) April 20, 2021
Weedmaps is hosting a 4/20 livestream event, with musical performances by artists like Snoop Dogg and A$AP. There will also be a panel led by the Last Prisoner Project to discuss the need for social equity in legalization legislation.
Musicians are also taking a moment to celebrate 4/20:
Happy 4/20. There’s gonna be more people getting baked this year than ever before
— Wiz Khalifa (@wizkhalifa) April 20, 2021
The Flaming Lips
Great tickets JUST RELEASED for our “420” Space Bubble Concert tonight at @CriterionOKC. We’ll be performing the entirety of the new album ‘American Head’ and more. Get your ticket now while they last at https://t.co/qU1PC4ciJh. pic.twitter.com/kKG9DDWnBG
— The Flaming Lips (@theflaminglips) April 20, 2021
Advocacy organizations are also marking the cannabis occasion:
The civil rights group is promoting its cannabis-themed products such as a marijuana stress ball.
These products are best buds.
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 18, 2021
Get some needed 🌿 releaf 🍃 with our new stress ball.
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 19, 2021
The pro-legalization organization put out a call-to-action ahead of 4/20 to encourage supporters to hemp them “Finish the Fight” to end prohibition.
“While we have undoubtedly made immense progress in recent years, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens are still arrested each year for simple possession of a plant,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “That is why we are calling on all legalization supporters to take time out of their 4/20 celebrations this year to help us finish the fight, both at the federal level and in those states that still are living under the dark ages of prohibition.”
DC Marijuana Justice (DCMJ)
On 4/20, DCMJ is organizing an event where members will give away free marijuana at COVID-19 vaccination centers across the nation’s capital.
— DC Marijuana Justice💨🏛💨🏛💨🏛💨 (@DCMJ2014) April 6, 2021
Other organization are using the holiday for public education purposes around cannabis laws:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The federal agency is urging people not to drive while impaired, using the hashtag #420 in a tweet.
There is a lot of prep leading up to a party, and if you’re hosting, your job doesn’t end when the party gets going. Keep your guests safe by not letting them drive impaired. #ImpairedDriving #420 pic.twitter.com/kpVnAxoD45
— nhtsagov (@NHTSAgov) April 19, 2021
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA’s Risk Management Agency saw 4/20 as an opportunity to educate hemp growers about crop insurance.
If you're a hemp producer, spend this 420 making sure you've got nursery #cropinsurance. Starting this year, hemp is insurable if grown in containers and in accordance with federal and applicable state or tribal regulations. Learn more: https://t.co/NXFy8rVvwq pic.twitter.com/VgMR9xKVwF
— Risk Management Agency (@usdaRMA) April 20, 2021
Colorado Department of Transportation
The department is raising awareness about the dangers of driving while impaired by alcohol or marijuana.
To remind cannabis consumers to plan ahead and stay safe this 420, we’re teaming up with MADD Colorado. We’ve asked Coloradans impacted by alcohol- and marijuana-impaired driving to share their stories.
— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) April 19, 2021
MADD is also reminding people not to drive while impaired.
— MADD (@MADDOnline) April 20, 2021
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
TSA says it wants to “clear the smoke when it comes to traveling with medical marijuana.”
We want to clear the smoke when it comes to traveling with medical marijuana. Marijuana remains illegal federally unless it's less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. This means you can’t travel with it, even if going from one legalized state to another. https://t.co/V268y767yF pic.twitter.com/v0r4w4XQtF
— TSA (@TSA) April 20, 2021
“Marijuana remains illegal federally unless it’s less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis,” it said. “This means you can’t travel with it, even if going from one legalized state to another.”
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
While not explicitly tied to 4/20, the federal agency did tweet on Tuesday a link to a blog post about the rules around adding cannabis ingredients to cosmetics.
— FDA Cosmetics (@FDACosmetics) April 20, 2021
Even prohibitionists are trying to take advantage of the occasion:
Smart Approaches to Marijuana
Smart Approaches To Marijuana’s Kevin Sabet released a book on 4/20 that attempts to lay out reasons not to pursue legalization and offers insights into the man behind the anti-reform movement.
Here it is: The hardcover for "Smokescreen: What the Marijuana Industry Doesn't Want You to Know"
Preorder link: https://t.co/ecEIy8V5k1
Preorder if you can; preorders are important and I'd also be grateful if you could spread the word.
— Kevin Sabet (@KevinSabet) March 28, 2021
Drug Enforcement Administration
Even the DEA wanted to join in on the 4/20 fun.
— DEA HQ (@DEAHQ) April 20, 2021
In other words: no matter where people stand on marijuana, it seems everyone has something to say about it at least once a year.
Photo courtesy of Martin Alonso.