The Renegade Holiday of 4/20 Goes Up in Smoke

Tameka Kee

It’s impossible to say exactly when celebrating 4/20 became mainstream, but as good a milestone as any is the pun-laden Tweet that Senator Orrin Hatch posted this past week.

> Tomorrow, purely coincidentally, we will be talking about marijuana.

> We’ll get in the weeds to hash out some of the most potent arguments as to why it might be the budding answer doctors have long strained to find for countless chronic conditions #utpol

> — Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) April 20, 2018

That there are enough politician tweets supporting or contemplating various cannabis legalization and decriminalization measures from politicians on both sides of the aisle to create an article of embedded Tweets is a significant moment of its own.

It’s a very curious time for the cannabis movement when politicians in states where use is extremely limited can so openly joke about the substance, but perhaps it portends for a brighter future of greater acceptance. Even former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has reversed a political history thwarting cannabis legislation to become a board member at cannabis operator and investment firm Acreage Holdings.

Also, more “mainstream brands” are supporting the holiday, though the ones that do are likely to cater to audiences likely to indulge or otherwise support the broader cannabis movement from a societal perspective. We’ll know we’ve hit absolute acceptance when it’s Disney and Wal-Mart, not White Castle and Ben and Jerry’s that are doing the celebrating.

The celebration of 4/20 has become so commonplace that there is now a 4/20 backlash. This Mashable article brings up some great points as to why. In short, it takes away from the broader consensus building and serious nature of marketing cannabis for health and relaxation purposes.

While it may be the biggest holiday for the cannabis industry, 4/20 often feels like it shares some similarities with St. Patrick’s Day: a day where the non-Irish (or non-frequent cannabis users in this instance) celebrate more than the community.

People who are not involved with cannabis culture throw their puns around, while organizations associated with cannabis try to cut through this inflated noise to, yes, have some fun with the day, but also to educate and rally.

When everyone is seemingly supporting or mentioning this special day, it becomes harder for any company or organization involved in the industry to rise above the clutter. That’s why although 4/20 is a day that the industry celebrate, but it should be just as happy when it ends and the real work can commence.