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420 Dispensary Promotion Calendar

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420 Dispensary Calendar

420 presents an opportune time to increase dispensary sales and create memorable cannabis experiences. Many retailers begin preparing as early as October of the previous year—it's that big of a deal.

To help you get ready, we've gathered insights directly from real retailers across the U.S. and industry experts including: Alpine IQ, CASA, CannaHauler, and Vetrina.

This dispensary event calendar is a visual example of how a cannabis retailer might plan a successful 420 campaign. Use it to gather inspiration to create your own based on your goals, compliance requirements, and unique opportunity within your local market.

Check out the Flowhub 420 Retail Guide for a comprehensive overview on how to prepare for the biggest cannabis sales day of the year.

February 2024 - Planning

Key actions:

  • Gather historical data to form initial strategies for 420.

  • Set clear goals.

  • Book high-commitment vendors, like food trucks or DJs.

February 420 Dispensary Calendar Promotions

2/9 — Team brainstorm session

An early team brainstorming session is a gathering of the entire dispensary staff to indulge in cannabis products and discuss creative ideas to include in this year’s 420 campaign. This meeting serves as foundational pre-planning as well as a team-building event. You can create employee buy-in from the bottom up and source creative 420 ideas that may be overlooked by leadership-exclusive planning sessions.


  • Allow employees to consume cannabis before/during/after this session to get the creative juices flowing and make the exercise fun for everyone.

  • Contextualize why 420 is important and what a successful holiday means. Having everyone aligned with what you are trying to achieve is a motivation hack.

  • Time box the meeting for 30 minutes to 1 hour. You want to capture all the great ideas but avoid taking up too much time.

2/10 — Data dive: Top performing products

Analyze which products sold well last year, and which ones didn't to determine which products you expect to be popular this year. Use sub-categories and SKU velocity to measure how quickly products enter and exit your store. This can help you determine which products to mark down and still maximize profits.

Flowtip: Use the Product Performance report in Analytics for details like Average Days on Shelf, Total Profit, Total Sold, Product Type, and Category.

2/12 — Data dive: High margin products

What products are top earners? Understanding gross margin will help determine how to showcase, discount, and bundle products. To calculate gross margin, use the following formula:

Gross Margin = (Net Sales - Cost of Goods Sold) / Total Net Sales

2/16 — 420 goal setting

Develop top-level key performance indicators (KPIs) for marketing and sales throughout the 420 campaign. Here are some examples:

  • Increase social followers by 10%

  • Increase email subscribers by 15%

  • Increase text message opt-ins by 5%

  • Add 150 new customers to the loyalty program

  • Hit a revenue target of $300k from March 1 to April 21

  • Increase online sales by 10%

💡 Learn more about dispensary KPIs

2/19 — Book DJ, food truck, and/or celebrity guests for 420 event

Adding enticing promotional entertainment to the 420 celebration attracts a crowd, delights shoppers, and creates anticipation for the event that is leveraged in later marketing materials like email and social. However, bookings for entertainment fill up fast, so reach out as early in the planning process as possible.

There's tremendous value in a good 420 event. The strategy of going all out for 420 has been a pillar of success for Laiah Walsh, Marketing Director at Life Flower Dispensary who says:

"Our customers are very loyal and they know we put on a good event. We have customers who gravitate to our events and actually plan ahead to make sure they can be there."

Takeaway: Get vendor agreements in place well in advance of 420 to draw an excited crowd to your event.

2/23 — Data dive: Staffing requirements

Determine how much staff will be needed before, during, and after 420.

This can be done by calculating sales per man hour (SPMH). By calculating how much revenue is generated by a certain number of employees in an hour, you can optimize the staff needed to match your hourly revenue. The higher the productivity of your team, the lower the hours – which results in a lower labor percentage.

SPMH = Total revenue generated / Total employee hours scheduled

You may realize the need to hire and train additional or temporary staff to handle the 420 rush.

Flowtip: The Store Dashboard in Flowhub offers a detailed look into dispensary operations, such as Busiest Times of Day, sales and transactions by month, and sales by employee.

2/28 — Begin vendor conversations to source 420 product discounts

When determining 420 inventory and negotiating with vendors, consider this advice from Taylor Stafford, CEO and Founder at CASA Retail:

"Vendors are becoming very strategic about the discounts they're offering. While they'll run deals for 420, it's typically difficult to negotiate additional low prices outside of quantity-based discounts.

However, here's the best way to ask for a better price:

Provide a story through your data. For example, if a retailer notices a significant portion of their sales coming from a specific SKU, like a $10 pre-roll, and they have a lower SKU count in that category, they should use this data to justify the need to double their SKU count. Then, approach vendors with data and explain you want to add five more SKUs on the menu. You need a price point of $4.50, plan to sell at $10 and you're looking for hybrid strains with mid to high ranges of THC."

Cannabis suppliers will still be running deals for 420—and you can shop for discounted wholesale products. That's what Dean Warner, Manager at Green Point Wellness does:

"420 doesn't just mean retail discounts. Suppliers are working to move the needle on their end and take advantage of 420 to boost their sales and give out good deals, which is a great opportunity for me as a buyer."


  • Dispensaries aren't the only ones discounting products. Shop deals from vendors to carry over discounted prices during your 420 promos.
  • Use data to tell a compelling story to vendors when seeking a lower price.
  • Begin these conversations well before 420 to secure prices and ensure inventory is properly stocked for 420.

March 2024 - Procurement & Promotion

Key actions:

  • Document and openly communicate initiatives from the top down.
  • Order products and ink deals for discounted 420 products.
  • Finalize your 420 marketing campaign.
  • Begin early 420 promotions & discounts.
March 2024 Dispensary Promotion Calendar

3/4 — Communicate 420 strategy with managers

Explain your 420 initiatives clearly to store managers to ensure alignment from the top down.

The cannabis retail experts at Vetrina suggest the following conversation topics between executives and managers:

  • Define ideal customers to win (Ex. Retain our customers with a focus on the customers who shop 5-9 times a year. Focus on Flower and Concentrate customers. Attract new customers who are likely to purchase 8 times in the next 365 days.)
  • Communicate strategies to win them (Ex. Segment our loyalty program to cover special promotions for our loyal Flower and Concentrate customers. Leverage social media and paid ads to target customers looking for concentrates within 3 miles of the store.)
  • Explain what is needed for the strategy to work (Ex. Awareness, specifically merchandising in store leading up to 420. More updated customer accounts to have phone and email associated so they don't miss offers. Great creative for ads. A follow-up survey after 420 to customers who were in the loyalty program before, purchased 3 times, and made a transaction during 420. An easy way to sign customers up in-store even though it's busy.)
  • Determine what role 420 has in supporting the business overall (Ex. We will be successful if we improve April's results overall. Last year we saw a dip before and after 420. If we want to consider 420 a success we need to ensure we lift the whole month.)

3/6 — Assign marketing creative design

Work with an agency, like the Cannabis Marketing Agency, or a freelance partner to develop media assets to be used throughout the 420 campaign. Examples of creative outputs dispensaries need for 420 include:

  • Social and email imagery
  • Website banners
  • In-store signage
  • Flyers
  • A dedicated landing page on your website

3/11 — Review store layout and workflows

It's time to consider what changes must be made to your physical store layout to accommodate the 420 event. Everything from product displays for featured items to increased physical space for more in-store shoppers must be evaluated.

Here are some questions to get started:

  • Do you have enough room for your event? You might need to re-think your store layout to fit more customers in your store, especially when hosting a sizable event.

  • Do you need additional hardware, like debit card payment terminals? Get started with Flowhub Pay cannabis payments here.

  • Do you need to extend your store hours? Flowhub data shows 2pm - 6pm as the busiest time of day on April 20 based on the number of transactions.

  • How can you make the checkout process even faster? Consider creating an express lane or setting up an order fulfillment model to increase efficiency during high volume periods.

3/19 — Kickoff budtender 420 sales competition

Sales competitions boost budtender buy-in and increase sales. Keep prizes simple and directly interesting to your staff. Here's an example:

The top three sellers from 3/19 to 4/20 get a paid day off and a free ounce of their favorite flower.

Flowtip: Use the Budtender Sales Performance dashboard to see a breakdown of each budtender’s performance, including average cart value, total units sold, sales by budtender, and more.

3/20 — Early 420 deals marketing communication

Send out marketing communications notifying customers of early-access 420 discounts and deals. Early 420 deals typically run from April 1 to April 10.

Subject line example: [Dispensary name] early 420 deals: Get [insert promotion example]

Additional distribution channels:

  • SMS
  • Social
  • Website banner
  • In-store signage

Marketing communication insights from Alpine IQ:

☑️ Messaging that includes a store's brand name + a promotional highlight has higher engagement rates.

☑️ Compile messaging in a structure that’s easy to follow and allows customers easily understand your promotions.

☑️ Offer online-exclusive deals to increase the number of online 420 orders.

3/21 — Staff training session

Managers will head up a training session with dispensary staff to refresh product knowledge and sampling for key products and brands featured for 420.

💡Get dispensary staff training tips.

3/25 — Featured product of the week

Highlight a single product discount for the week.

Subject line example: [Dispensary name] early 420 deals: Get [insert promotion]

Additional distribution channels:

  • SMS
  • Social
  • Website banner

Discount insights from CASA:

☑️ You cannot improve what you do not measure. Make sure to measure differences in margins and promote discounts accordingly.

☑️ Determine inventory availability before promoting a discount. Make sure there is enough inventory on hand to meet demand.

3/26 — Outage preparedness documentation

Clear documentation and plans in the case of a power or technology outage ensure your shop remains operational in case of emergency on 420. If your power, internet, POS system, hardware, or computer isn’t working, you’ll need processes to allow customers to compliantly check in and complete their transactions. Take time to document these plans.

💡Download the Outage SOP template

3/27 — Place order for 420 inventory

It's a best practice to order 420 inventory early to avoid any delays from busy wholesalers and transporters. Every dispensary will be increasing order volume for the holiday, and this influx can slow down delivery times.

Another option if you don't want to order all your inventory at once is to batch your orders. Fill an early inventory order to satisfy your early-bird deals, then place a second order for the busy 420 weekend.

Insight from Nick Medlock, Founder and CEO at Cannahauler:

"Different states have requirements around how long transporters can hold onto inventory. Depending on market requirements, some dispensaries will need to plan out their 420 inventory orders in multiple batches. Just like how packages take longer around the December holidays, cannabis inventory can take longer around 420."

3/28 — 420 education

Marketing that leads with informational value is a nice break between discount-focused messages as you head into 420 month. Build hype around the holiday without plugging your brand and you'll notice higher engagement rates.

Subject line example: The history of 420: What to know before April 20th

Additional distribution channels:

  • Website
  • Instagram
  • X (formerly Twitter)
  • Facebook
  • TikTok
  • Youtube Shorts
  • Instagram Reels

Note: Video has quickly become the most engaging opportunity for marketers. Since 2016, the time spent watching videos has increased by 249%. If you haven't already, explore creative ways to tie videos into your 420 strategy.

3/31 — Last day to switch your POS

Switching your dispensary POS system requires buy-in and effort across an entire business. During the busy month of April, many retailers won't have time to transition to a new platform.

Mitch Britten, Managing Partner & CEO at Thrive experienced the benefits of switching his POS before 420:

"We spent close to three weeks leading up to 420 just building redundancies in our stores because I've always had some sort of system failure on our busiest days over the past 10 years. Flowhub Maui ran flawlessly on our biggest day of the year. I'm grateful we switched prior to 420."

💡 Learn how to switch your POS.

April 2024 - Execution

Key actions:

  • Finish touches on prep work.
  • Double-check software and hardware works.
  • Ramp up marketing for 420 deals and events.
  • Test your deals.
  • Execute on 420 strategy.
  • Measure results.
April 2024 Dispensary 420 Calendar

4/1 — Build 420 deals

69% of all 420 transactions included a discount in 2023 and the average discount amount was $19.

420 discounting tips:

  • Bundle related products. Bundling increases the perceived value of your products, blurs the customer’s focus on price, and increases product awareness. They’re also a fun option for the 420 holiday. Try building a "max purchase limit bundle" that offers a full day's limit in one product grouping.

  • Be intentional with your promotion strategy. Don’t just hand out free/discounted products because it’s 420. Instead, determine which items offer the highest margins, how much you need to sell, and how long your promotions need to run for most of your customer base to become aware.

  • Avoid complicated promotions. Our friends at Vetrina Group ran two promotions on comparable products. One had a 50% discount and the other had a BOGO campaign. The BOGO promotion was far more successful because customers understand the value of a BOGO more than discounted pricing. Give your customers promotions that they can understand up front.

  • Print your deals. Printing deals and handing them out to budtenders gives them immediate access to promo codes and eliminates any slowdowns in case a code must be entered.

  • Let the team see what the customer does. Post a customer view of 420 advertisements and loyalty communications in the Back of House so the team has a greater sense of customer expectations.

Try this 420 discounting strategy from Vetrina! ⬇️

Categorize dispensary deals into two categories, Basket Builders and Impulse Offers. This will help to define what changes or where they need to be featured on the website and on the sales floor.

Basket Builders
  • These deals push units or average spend per customer. They are often product heroes, or a group of products that attract customers to the dispensary.

  • Could be a category, a popular strain, or a unique product—but they capture attention.

  • If your average basket is $52, these deals need to be more than $52.

Example: Buy two 8ths for $57

Impulse Offers
  • These deals invite customers to make a spontaneous decision that they may not have been considering previously.

  • They are often driven by emotions, curiosity, or flavor.

  • Depending on your average item price and customer pricing sensitivity Impulse Offers might range from $5-$25. They are typically low-cost, accessible, and easy to consume— like prerolls, edibles, or beverages.

Example: Buy two prerolls for $12

Flowtip: Build your 420 bundles under a single SKU in Deals! And remember Managers using Flowhub can always override a discount in the cart. This helps reduce discount overuse (like "double dipping") to keep margins high, reduces the need for manual discounting, and cuts down on wait time for your customers.

4/2 — 420 promotions and discounts begin

Your 420 discounts should be top of mind for customers. To keep them interested and drive more orders at your shop, keep a steady drumbeat of messages in front of your audience.

Subject line example: It's time! 420 discounts are now available at [Dispensary name]

Additional distribution channels:

  • Social
  • SMS
  • Website banner
  • Landing page
  • In-store signage/flyers
  • Word of mouth from staff

Additional considerations:

☑️ Not only do dispensaries need to focus on promoting their 420 specials, but they must also consider how these products are displayed in-store.

☑️ Use strategies like price anchoring to psychologically influence customer shopping habits.

☑️ Keep Impulse Offer deals close to the checkout area for customers to add to their carts right before paying or while waiting in line.

4/3 — Save the date: 420 invite

Send out a "save the date" for your dispensary event. This is an opportunity to tease the event you've spent months planning—and a chance to drive significant interest.

Subject line example: Save the date! [Dispensary name] 420 celebration, featuring [key promotions]

Additional distribution channels:

  • Social
  • SMS
  • Website banner
  • Landing page
  • In-store signage/flyers
  • Word of mouth from staff
  • Influencers/Celebrities
  • PR

4/9 — Inventory audit

Complete certainty around your physical inventory and Metrc (or Biotrack) inventory is required for a successful 420. Properly audited dispensaries ensure compliance with the state and avoid overlooking small mistakes as the store gets dramatically busier.

Here's how to audit physical cannabis retail inventory manually (get the full Inventory Audit SOP here):

  1. Pull and print an inventory report from your POS.

  2. Start auditing. Always audit the sales floor first to try and reduce confusion as sales start to be processed.

  3. Start at one end of the bud room and count all inventory within the category you’re auditing. Don’t just count boxes, count each individual item.

  4. Write the correct amount on the sheet.

  5. Go to your POS, search by name or ID, and update the quantity to match the physical count you just completed.

  6. Complete a full count of the inventory within the category and room.

  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for all other rooms, storage locations, and waste/problem bins.

Flowtip: Skip manual audits using Flowhub's mobile Nug scanners and Metrc discrepancy tool to quickly fix any discrepancies between store inventory and Metrc. This will help ensure inventory stays in 100% compliance between now and 420.

4/13 — 420 event reminder

Additional marketing touch to promote your 420 event. This one has more urgency and a stronger call to action.

Subject line example: Are you ready? [Dispensary name]'s 420 celebration is in 1 week!

Additional distribution channels:

  • Social
  • SMS
  • Website banner
  • In-store signage/flyers
  • Word of mouth from staff
  • Influencers/Celebrities

4/17 — Send final 420 reminders

420 is just a couple days away. It's time put out all the final feelers with campaign reminders across all your marketing channels. Engaging customers through targeted emails, vibrant social media posts, and strategic in-store signage can drive last-minute traffic and boost sales leading up to the big day.

4/18 — Pre-420 checklist

Conduct a final check for all essential 420 operations, including:

  • Meet with all staff to align on clear event goals and procedures. Clarify with each employee their schedule and expectations for the big day.
  • Test all software and hardware.
  • Ensure your employees’ roles and permissions are correct.
  • Ensure API integrations to Metrc (or other track and trace program) are working for each employee.
  • Make sure all employee PINs work in your POS.
  • Ensure your online menu and website are accurate. Add pictures and descriptions to items in your POS and update store hours to reflect 420.

Flowtip: Utilize the Notes field in Inventory to document at-a-glance instructions for where each product can be found in the back stock.

4/20 — Celebration! 🎉

Blaze it and enjoy the day! Be sure to give your staff breaks, water, and food in recognition of their hard work.

4/21-4/26 — Post-420 data analysis and action items

Leveraging data that you collected on 420 uncovers where your team succeeded, and what to change for next year. Data also helps move excess inventory and grow relationships with first-time customers through post-holiday discounts, giving you a great reason to make a quick second connection and attract repeat business.

Make sure you have data collection architecture in place for key metrics like:

  • Total sales and transactions
  • Average order value
  • Customer sources
  • Discount usage
  • Percentage of new vs existing customers, online vs in-store orders, cash vs debit transactions

Flowtip: Visualize your most important data points with the Executive Summary Dashboard in Flowhub. Owners and executives can also see 420 sales, employee, and inventory data from their mobile devices using the View® app!

4/29 — Staff celebration and reflection

Once the 420 dust settles, give yourself (and your staff) a round of applause for making it through 420! Gather the team, hand out rewards (food, drinks, and cannabis are always good options), and celebrate this year's 420 W's.

You and your employees deserve this acknowledgment, and post-event gatherings improve buy-in from the bottom up—they also improve staff morale. Take time to talk through what went well, share key data points, and shout out individual performances.

Good luck this 420!

420 is a celebration of the cannabis plant as well as a test of endurance for those working in this industry. Everyone is pushing toward success over the busy holiday, but the most successful retailers are the best planners.

We hope this example 420 calendar helps you build solid plans that become a 420 celebration for the history books.

Good luck! 💚

Thanks again to our cannabis retail buds as well as partners Alpine IQ, CASA, CannaHauler, and Vetrina for supporting this content with their 420 insights.

Want to see your advice included too? Email to submit your insights.

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