On April 20, A Lot More Businesses Win Than Marijuana Sellers
By: Debra Borchardt – Forbes – April 18, 2017
You might think that only marijuana businesses like dispensaries benefit from the unofficial cannabis holiday of April 20, but it turns out that many other establishments join in the fun.
Foursquare looked at foot traffic trends among its users during last year’s 420 events and did indeed confirm the obvious: dispensaries saw business jump 76%. Foursquare’s technology is able to register users of the app as they enter an establishment and they don’t have to “check-in,” making the data mining a pretty seamless effort. Their analysis also revealed that on April 20, traffic at top fast-food chains increased by 20% and pizza places popped by 11%. Sarah Spagnolo, editor-at-large of Foursquare said, “We also observed a significant increase in visits to both nightlife spots (8%) and liquor stores (36%). Even pubs were up by a whopping 92% compared with the prior week.”
While some cities in states with legalized marijuana have official events, many cannabis consumers have nowhere else to go other than these venues to celebrate the holiday. They also may just want to continue the celebration and a bar is an obvious choice.
Denver recently considered implementing a law that would allow for public consumption of cannabis in social settings, but the governor decided that with the new administration in Washington, such a law could draw unwanted attention to the state. “Given the uncertainty in Washington, this is not the time to be … trying to carve off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana,” Gov. John Hickenlooper told The Denver Post.
Foursquare data also suggests that legalized marijuana doesn’t necessarily mean a state’s nightlife is going to suffer. It seems cannabis consumers aren’t following the stereotype and staying home to get high and hang out on the couch. The company did a deep dive into data from 2015 to 2016 in Oregon, which legalized adult-use marijuana sales in 2015. “Interestingly enough, nightlife spots in Oregon (which includes every type of bar, lounge, club and brewery) were unaffected during this time period,” Spagnolo said. “In fact, they experienced a 3% growth in year-over-year foot traffic, right on par with national nightlife industry trends.”
Dispensary patrons, it turns out, like to go out for beer with the favorites being draft beer, pale ale and IPAs. They are also big fans of Asian food and frequent dumpling and ramen spots. Cannabis consumers in Oregon are surprisingly quite an active bunch. “They are more likely to visit ski resorts, climbing gyms, stadiums and bike shops than average Foursquare users,” Spagnolo explains.
So, if you are wondering who these dispensary goers are, Foursquare looked at the four states where adult-use marijuana is legal to get a better idea of the dispensary demographics. It turns out that 46% are millennials between the ages of 21-34, while 23% are baby boomers over the age of 55. Tourists account for 31% of the visits as they indulge in a freedom not allowed in their home states.
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