Given that 64% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, it might not be too surprising that many marijuana users plan on celebrating cannabis' unofficial holiday -- April 20 (or 4/20) -- by skipping work. According to a lendEDU survey, nearly 36% of consumers plan on taking today off to celebrate -- a clear indication that the momentum to legalize marijuana isn't fading.
Marijuana goes mainstream
Initially, pro-cannabis support began with legalizing its use as medicine, but today, more and more states are legalizing recreational use, and that's bringing more marijuana users out into the open.
So far, 29 states have passed medical marijuana laws, and following Vermont's decision earlier this year, nine states have approved recreational marijuana marketplaces.
The growing acceptance of marijuana use isn't limited to the U.S., either. In Canada, medical marijuana is legal nationwide and soon, recreational marijuana marketplaces are expected to open there, too. Other countries, including Germany and Australia, are making access to cannabis easier, as well.
Overall, increasing interest among consumers in marijuana is driving marijuana sales higher. For example, Canada's leading marijuana company, Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), is selling nearly $22 million Canadian worth of marijuana per quarter. In the U.S, marijuana sales in Colorado alone exceeded $1.5 billion in 2017.
Bigger than New Year's?
As of now, 4/20 isn't more popular with marijuana users than New Year's Eve, but according to lendEDU's pot survey, it could be catching up. One-quarter of cannabis consumers say that celebrating 4/20 is more important to them than celebrating the start of a new year, and over one-third of marijuana users are taking the day off. In states that have passed recreational laws, roughly 41% of consumers are skipping work to celebrate.
Overall, these revelers plan on spending an average of $146 on 4/20, including $71 on marijuana and $40 on munchies. They plan on spending the rest of the money on marijuana paraphernalia. That's a lot of money, especially considering that a previous lendEDU survey found that the average marijuana user typically spends only $111 per month on cannabis and pot products.
The expected one-day surge in marijuana spending likely will be a boon for marijuana companies and should give tax revenue a boost in states allowing recreational use, including Colorado. In March, recreational marijuana sales totaled $92 million, according to Matt Karnes of GreenWave Advisors, and according to Colorado's Department of Revenue, Colorado collected almost $21 million in marijuana taxes and fees last month.
What's next for marijuana
Despite marijuana's growing popularity, it remains illegal in the U.S. at the Federal level. Until that changes, marijuana growers, dispensaries, and consumers are going to have to overcome obstacles.
Marijuana companies have limited access to banking services that most other businesses take for granted, and they can't claim many common business expenses against marijuana revenue when filing taxes with the IRS. Meanwhile, consumers in states that still prohibit marijuana are forced to turn to the black market.
So far, convincing Congress that pro-pot laws should be passed have failed. That could change, however, if more marijuana users begin to openly show their support. If you're planning to stay home on 4/20, a phone call to Washington could be one more way to celebrate cannabis.