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Ask a Budtender: Tips for 420 Shopping

Haley Hansen

by Haley Hansen

April 18, 2022 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Ask a Budtender: Tips for 420 Shopping

Question: I’ve never been to a dispensary on 4/20. This is the first year I’ll be going to shop on the actual date of 4/20, and I’m somewhat nervous! Someone told me that 4/20 is like Black Friday for the cannabis industry—super long lines and lots of people rushing for deals all at once. I’m worried about the dispensary being so busy and want to be as prepared as possible. Do you have any tips for me to enjoy the experience and feel prepared?

Cannabis Coach Haley’s Answer: I would agree that 4/20 is like the Black Friday of the cannabis industry, because it’s when a lot of dispensaries have their “biggest sale of the year,” and there is just generally a lot of hype around the day. When I worked at a dispensary, we started preparing for 4/20 several months beforehand so we’d feel fully ready once the day finally came around!

As a self-proclaimed introvert, I personally don’t buy cannabis on 4/20 because of the long lines and dispensary traffic on that day. However, I don’t want to discourage you from shopping on 4/20 because it can be a really fun and unique experience, much like shopping on Black Friday. Even though it might be a busy shopping day, think of all the fun and interesting people you could meet while you’re waiting! Some dispensaries also have really good deals on 4/20 that are hard to pass up.

Here are some tips to help you feel ready for 4/20.

The Day Before 4/20

Check for Sales

I always suggest that folks research their dispensary deals ahead of time if possible. Many dispensaries will post their 4/20 sales online as a “teaser” to let you know what good sales are coming later in the week. Start by Googling the dispensary menu and see if you can find a list of 4/20 specials online. As a last resort, you can call the front desk at the dispensary and ask about sales, but keep in mind that dozens of other people may be calling to ask about the same thing.

PRO TIP: Some dispensaries utilize social media to post their 4/20 sales and might post their sales on Instagram or Facebook, so I recommend looking there as well!

Be Prepared

Even though most COVID mandates have been lifted throughout the country, I recommend bringing your mask to the dispensary, just in case. In some states, masks are required in medical settings, and your dispensary may require you to wear a mask in order to enter the building.

I also recommend getting your cash ready ahead of time. It’s best to not rely on the ATM at the dispensary, especially on 4/20.   While it’s true that most dispensaries have ATMs on-site, keep in mind that on 4/20 that machine is going to get a lot of use, and there may not be any cash left! When I worked at the dispensary, our ATM would sometimes run out of cash within the first hour of the day.

Hydrate and Rest

Tomorrow is the big day! I always suggest drinking lots of water the night before a big cannabis day. If you’re going to be eating lots of edibles or have a smoking contest like many folks do on 4/20, you’ll want to be properly hydrated before you even begin. Water, water, water!

The Day of 4/20

Take Your Time

The day has finally arrived! It’s time to enjoy the freedom of purchasing legal cannabis and have yourself a cannabis holiday! You’ll want to pick a time to shop at the dispensary when you aren’t strapped for time or in a hurry. This year, 4/20 falls on a Wednesday, which is somewhat of a bummer for those of us who have to work. I recommend going to the dispensary either before work or after work—whenever you have the most flexible schedule.

When I worked on 4/20, I’d say it was normal for folks to spend about 1-1.5 hours in line waiting, and I feel like this is similar to other dispensaries across the country. (Other dispensaries might be much quicker, but I just wanted to give you a realistic time frame from what I’ve seen).

I definitely do not recommend trying to squeeze in a 4/20 shopping trip on your lunch break, which is a common mistake many people make. If it’s 4/20, you can pretty much count on it being busy all day. Even at noon. Especially at noon, actually!

Stock Up

For many people across the U.S., 4/20 is a chance to stock up on cannabis supplies for the whole year at some of the best rates possible. For example, at our local dispensary, an eighth of cannabis typically costs around $60, but on 4/20, this exact same jar of cannabis might cost $40 instead. I’ve seen folks purchase anywhere from $500 to $5,000 of cannabis on 4/20—now might be the time to really stock up on the items you like! There most likely won’t be sales like this for the rest of the year.

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to tip your budtender a little something too. 4/20 can be a very hard day to work as a budtender, so a little gratitude can go a long way!

Maximize Your Evening

Once you leave the dispensary, it’s time to set yourself up for success. What do you need for the rest of your day? Now is the time to think about anything that your “high self” might want later. After leaving the dispensary, I like to run by the store to stock up on snacks and drinks. Here’s what’s on my 4/20 shopping list: 

  • Eye drops and lighters (for smoking joints later)
  • Lemon sparkling water (for when the cotton mouth kicks in)
  • Gummy fruit snacks (for when the edibles kick in and I’m hungry)
  • Chips and pretzels (for when we need something salty)
  • Chocolate almonds (for when we need something sweet)

Once you have all the products and gear you need, it’s time to find your friends, kick back, and celebrate however you like to celebrate! Meet anyone interesting or find some good deals? Make sure to let us know in the comments. Happy 4/20 shopping!

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