Today, 4/20, is a very special day in the marijuana world. Even if you don't imbibe in any forms of the cannabis plant, saying that number—and it must be pronounced "four-twenty," not "four hundred twenty"—on this date, or any other, will illicit either a knowing nod, wink or smile or a blank stare and a "Huh?"
This year a number of clued-in marketers are rallying around 4/20— just as they might on St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, the 4th of July, Halloween or Christmas—with date-specific products and promotions. That's because April 20 has become the unofficial high holiday to celebrate all things marijuana. It's a phenomenon dating back to 1971 when a group of high-schoolers in San Raphael, California, met regularly at 4:20 p.m. to get high. As the number has worked its way into American popular culture, it's only natural that the business world has joined in on the fun.
For instance, Stone Brewing, a craft beer maker in Escondido, California, last month released a limited-time India Pale Ale dubbed "Enjoy by 4.20.15." While espousing a live-and-let-live attitude toward marijuana, CEO Greg Koch said of the IPA, "It's a fun tip of the hat to its botanical cousin because of the connection in the pot-smoking world and their hallowed holiday." After explaining the similarly dank aromatics of hops—a major ingredient in beer—and cannabis, Koch warns, "Don't brew with pot, and don't smoke hops."