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Survey Finds Potheads Will Spend Freely on 4/20 and Might Go to Work, If They Have Jobs

For decades April 20 has been a day of solidarity and defiance for marijuana users. With legalization it is morphing into an occassion for pot marketing similar to what Cinco de Mayo is for Mexican beer.

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It's hard to overstate the economic opportunity created by legalized marijuana. Just in California, where recreational cannabis sales began Jan. 1, sales are expected to hit $3.7 billion this year. As more dispensaries open, that figure is projected to hit $5.1 billion in 2019. For comparison, beer sales in the Golden State were $5 billion in 2017.

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The ripple effects of legal marijuana sales are widespread. States that allow recreational cannabis are raking in millions in taxes and will do so annually forever more. Wherever dispensaries are legal the real estate market becomes ultracompetitive. Not least, legal marijuana businesses are on a hiring binge, employing everyone from scientists to cashiers.

Related: California Unleashes a Massive Market for Legal Cannabis

Marijuana has become big business in the United States, and the biggest day for the industry is April 20, commonly referred to as “4/20.” Started in the early 1970s by a group of stoners, 4/20 has become the defacto national holiday for marijuana users across the U.S. Consumers of cannabis celebrate the day by attending parades, eating a ton of junk food and, of course, smoking some of the stuff.

Related: Here's How April 20 Became the 4/20 of Global Cannabis Significance

My company, LendEDU, surveyed 1,000 adult Americans who intend to smoke some weed this Friday. We found they will spend an average of $146.12. Perhaps unexpectedly, 55.44 percent of respondents have 4/20 related expenses in their monthly budget. 

Of that $146.12 about half -- $71.35 -- will be spent on the drug itself, whether flower, vape products, edibles or any other product that will get you groovy. Further, $40.34 of the 4/20 budget will be spent on “munchies.” (Acute hunger is a common side-effect of cannabis consumption). Finally, $34.43 will be used for new marijuana paraphernalia, which could include a bong or a new vaporizer, purchased especially for use this Friday.

How will these folks have time to celebrate a holiday that involves drug-intake on a workday? We asked. Right off the bat, 22.48 percent of the poll participants are not employed, so it's not a concern for them. What's more interesting is that slightly more than one in three (35.66 percent) planning on smoking some pot this Friday will be skipping work on April 20 and the remaining 41.86 percent of survey-takers will go to work. However, of those 20 percent indicated they will be arriving to the office under the influence of marijuana and 10.26 percent are undecided if they will be walking into work high.

Of those who intend to get to the office feeling a bit giddy, confidence in their abilities is sky high (pardon the pun). Most (78.95 percent) said that their workplace productivity stoned on April 20 will still be between 80 percent and 100 percent of normal (we're presuming they aren't stoned at work on typical days, but we didn't actually ask). Only time and KPIs can determine if their confidence is well founded.

Related: Most People in Attorney General Jeff Sessions's Home State Want to Legalize Marijuana

That is the economic paradox of 4/20. On one hand, marijuana sales boosted by consumer enthusiasm and holiday spirit are great for distributors of cannabis, who are already swimming in profits, but come at the expense of general employers who may notice their workforce is inexplicably missing in mass or notably less productive on April 20.

Workplace managers might find the break room more crowded and lethargic than usual. Or perhaps, the office snack cupboard will be a bit more barren. For good or ill, it is just one day.