The festive 420 vibes started early Friday morning for San Jose pot shops. But after years of waiting to inhale, South Bay stoners were beyond ready to celebrate weed’s statewide legalization in high style with some massive pot parties (and a f*ckton of Doritos).
“It was probably 50 people-plus in line and when they opened there was a line out the door,” said Silicon Valley Cannabis Alliance founder Sean Kali-rai, who spent the stoner high holiday at Elemental Wellness, where the crowd that arrived before opening hours resembled a way, way, way more chill Black Friday sale. “That went on all day.”
Wait times of up to an hour were reported at numerous South Bay dispensaries. Some made up for it with free tacos and tie-dye T-shirt giveaways, like at Elemental, where customers were distracted with “a pretty amazing floor show” of sequined Brazilian samba dancers in feathered headdresses performing on stilts.
“The mood was festive, people were excited,” Kali-rai said. “People really stepped up their game knowing this was going to be the first recreational 420.”
Local dispensaries had an idea of what kind of crowds to expect for the first legal 420 after being bombarded on Jan. 1 by throngs of eager shoppers.
“(420) wasn’t that bad but that was because we controlled it,” said Matt Lucero, owner of Buddy’s Cannabis, which hit a record 1,000 transactions on the unofficial holiday. “January was horrible; we were not prepared for that onslaught but here, we were.”
Thirty percent more staff was added to keep up with demand last week, as was more inventory. Sales have steadily risen since January at all the clubs that spoke to Metro, and they show no signs of slowing down. Buddy’s most recent sales figures from March were the highest ever (no pun intended) in its eight-year history.
“I definitely think it’s a long-term upward trend,” Lucero said. “By going recreational we just opened up to a whole new market.”
That means luring more mainstream “value-minded” customers inside with special discounts and deals reflecting 420’s evolution into what Lucero calls “Customer Appreciation Day in the cannabis industry.”
“It definitely brings a different kind of shopper,” he added—perhaps a bulk buyer or bargain hunter. It’s still early in the game but opening the state’s floodgates on the weed market has Lucero stoked for the future.
“It was a phenomenal beginning to what I think will be a great year for us,” he said. “2018 is going to be an incredible year for opportunities.”