History of 420 and Predictions for the Cannabis Industry

2023 cannabis industry predictions, what's the history of 420, what is 420, cannabis industry 2023, is 420 a holiday

Did you know the term “420” is in the Oxford English Dictionary

“People always asked where it came from, and none of the explanations were very good,” says Katherine Connor Martin, product director for Oxford Languages at Oxford University Press. “So it’s very pleasing that the record of the English language now records what seems to be the genuine origin of the term.” 

Next question: Have you heard of the Waldos? They may be the ones to thank for the term and associated holiday of April 20, also known as 420 (4/20, 4:20). With many rumors, assumptions and theories, this group has worked to put themselves at the forefront of the question: What’s the history of 420?

What’s the history of 420?

Martin says there was solid evidence showing “the Waldos,” a group of California students in the 1970s with ties to the band the Grateful Dead, popularized the concept of “420” as a reference to the afternoon time to meet up and consume. “We have a watch list of words that we think should be added, and as they get enough evidence, we add them,” she says. “This had been on the list for awhile, but it’s become more prominent, and it’s become more mainstream, since the legalization.”

420 in the cannabis industry 2024

Have you ever wondered to yourself, is 420 a holiday — officially? Not yet, but it certainly gets celebrated across the nation. But as legality and commercialization sweep the nation, altering the cannabis industry’s climate, what will 420 celebrations look like in 2024?

For decades, Hippie Hill in San Francisco has been the go-to spot for one of the largest 420 gatherings in the world. The celebration was an unofficial gathering that drew thousands of cannabis lovers and protesters to the park for drum circles and smoke sessions. However, over the years, the once-humble gathering grew into an uncontrollable crowd with fights and underage smokers, resulting in city crackdowns and a commercialized event. 

Unfortunately, 4/20 Hippie Hill will be canceled in 2024 due to city budget cuts. Instead, San Francisco is hosting a “Weed Week,” during which top growers and unreleased strains will premiere at consumption lounges across the city. 

Of course, there will be hundreds of other events throughout the nation, including Phoenix’s Buds-a-Palooza, MileHigh 420 Festival in Colorado, Nevada’s 420 State Fair, Oklahoma’s Chronic Palooza and more.    

2024 cannabis industry predictions

Those in the realm know 420 is a huge day for cannabis sales, but what does the rest of the year hold for the cannabis industry 2024? 

  1. Cannabis Sales Will Reach More Than $40 Billion in 2024

According to Statista, the cannabis market is estimated to reach more than $64 billion in worldwide annual sales by the end of 2024, growing to $74.29 billion by the end of 2029. In the US alone, the cannabis industry is estimated to reach nearly $42 Billion by the end of 2024. 

  1. Cannabis Will Be Not Be Rescheduled to Schedule III Substance

Aside from cannabis sales, another big 2024 cannabis industry prediction is rescheduling cannabis from a Schedule I to Schedule III substance. While this would not legalize cannabis federally, it would offer a significant relief in taxes, potentially allowing further growth for cannabis brands. Many people eagerly await the DEA’s response; others argue that rescheduling cannabis will only promote big pharma companies’ position in the cannabis industry and instead, we should be fighting to deschedule cannabis altogether. Realistically, it’s unclear if we will see this happen in 2024. 

  1. Cannabis Drinks Will Be #1 in Cannabis Product Sales

Cannabis drinks have been on the rise over the last few years, with recent legalization giving rise to a rapidly growing market. At the end of 2023, the cannabis drink market was estimated at $1.2 Billion. Market predictions suggest the beverage market will reach nearly $4 Billion by 2030. These numbers are even higher for CBD beverages, with some predicting the market could grow to more than $40 Billion by 2032. 

  1. Hemp Products Will Continue to Grow in Popularity

Hemp products have been popping up all over the nation, and it’s no secret as to why. With federal regulations making it difficult to sell and market THC products legally, hemp-derived goodies are a great fallback. Hemp-derived D9 THC and CBD products are carried both within and outside of cannabis dispensaries, expanding the market to non-cannabis users. One Texas liquor store even launched its own hemp-infused seltzer, which is carried in stores across the state.

  1. More Microdose Cannabis Products Will Appear 

Similar to hemp and CBD products, we will likely see a rise in microdose THC products. While microdosing has been around for quite some time and is more commonly known in the psychedelic industry, microdosing THC has become increasingly popular as of late. Various companies are launching low-dose, 2.5mg edibles to target the wellness communities instead of your typical high-dose cannabis connoisseur. These low-dose THC products open the market to those who may have previously been deterred by cannabis’ strong effects or others looking for medicinal effects, rather than a head change. 

States that may potentially legalize cannabis in 2024

Legalization by state is always a big topic, which can determine the next year and more for the industry. As new markets open, adjoining states that have long-since legalized feel the effects. Considered likely to pass legalization in 2024:

  • Florida (Provision needs 60% of votes on November ballot for legalizing recreational marijuana)
  • Nebraska (Polling shows 70% are in favor of legalizing medical cannabis)
  • Hawaii (Senate approved adult legalization bill in early March)
  • South Dakota (Needs 12,500 signatures by May in order to make it to the November ballot)

Meanwhile, New Mexico’s medical and recreational markets are booming. Attend CannaCon on May 17 and 18 to experience our predictions playing out in real-time. This event is the nation’s leading business-to-business cannabis conference, and we host it with the goal of growing the industry by educating cannabis business owners on all things related to cannabis and CBD. CannCon trade shows feature a large exhibition hall with exhibitors from around the country and seminars delivered by industry experts. Get your tickets today!

This article was originally published on April 4, 2023, and was updated on April 10, 2024.

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