Cannabis Insiders Smoke Out 420's Biggest Trends And Challenges

"Smoking as much flower as you possibly can proves to still be the unique consumption trend on 420," one person in the bud business said.

Saturday is a green letter day on the cannabis calendar.

Folks in the 41 states where marijuana is either recreationally or medically legal will be partaking in 420 this Saturday — a pot-oriented equivalent to “hangover holidays” like the boozy American versions of St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo.

“Envision this: The air filled with the aroma of premium cannabis, intertwined with laughter and camaraderie,” former pro wrestler Ric Flair told HuffPost. “420 is a day that transcends mere tokes; it’s a voyage into heightened serenity, a revelry in life’s luxuries: styling, profiling, limousine-riding, and jet-flying!”

Flair — who, like many celebrities, has his own cannabis line — will be celebrating 420 by promoting said bud brand at a dispensary in Valley Glen, California.

Meanwhile, fellow athlete-turned-pot-entrepreneur Mike Tyson will be at a 420 activation event in New York’s Times Square.

But you don’t have to be a celebrity with a personalized pot brand to be high on 420, according to Lauren Fontein, founder of The Artist Tree, a California-based chain of cannabis stores and one consumption lounge.

Along with specials, Fontein said, her lounge in West Hollywood will have a hosted dab bar, a bong bar, a tie-dye station and a live performance from the cast and producers of “Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical,” along with themed cannabis cocktails.

But some people may celebrate in a lower-key way. Autumn Shelton, of California-based cannabis company Autumn Brands, says 420 tends to be “a restocking holiday” where consumers fill up their stash with old favorites, while also being more willing to try new products.

But Shelton also sees some interesting timing with 420 this year.

“For one it falls on a Saturday, so it will be easier for the consumer to take advantage of 420 deals for those that work during the week,” Shelton told HuffPost. “Secondly, it’s a palindrome year, which means the date is the same forwards and backwards. And thirdly, there are 24 legalized recreational states and an additional 17 for medicinal only purposes.

“If you’re a numbers geek like me, then that 24 recreational states also matches up with the year! Is it me or do the stars appear to be aligning?”

Although legal cannabis has come a long way since Colorado and Washington first legalized the drug in 2012, the marijuana industry still faces challenges on a variety of fronts.

“Without [medical or adult-use programs] the illicit market thrives and is the only path to access cannabis,” Jessica Benchetrit of Green Thumb Industries, a cannabis grower, told HuffPost. “As a result, consumers miss out on certain reassurances related to product transparency and testing standards that come with legal markets.”

Benchetrit said there is also a gap in what many people know about the medicinal properties of cannabis.

“The truth is, the failed War on Drugs made normalization an uphill battle, despite the myriad of medicinal properties associated with the plant,” she said.

Cannabis industry insiders also lament the lack of movement on reforming federal marijuana laws, despite the growing ubiquity of legal cannabis in American culture.

“The industry has had a carrot dangled in front of it for far too long,” Caleb Counts, the CEO of Connected Cannabis, told HuffPost. “Initiatives like the SAFE Banking Act, the latest rescheduling efforts, and even full-blown federal legalization have been discussed for over a decade, yet no meaningful change has occurred.”

Counts wants representatives at state and federal levels to ensure cannabis is safe, regulated and fairly taxed “and to open up business opportunities that are currently blocked,” such as selling pot products across state lines.

But even as laws and behavior around cannabis seem different every 420, some things remain consistent, according to Christopher Louie, of Made In Xiaolin, a cannabis and lifestyle brand.

“Smoking as much flower as you possibly can proves to still be the unique consumption trend on 420,” Louie said.

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