There's now not a state in the U.S. in which marijuana isn’t legal in some form, whether it’s “medically legal” for non-smokable products (Iowa, West Virginia) to pretty much anything goes (California, Nevada, Colorado).
The big change happened in 1996, when California voters approved Proposition 215, the first legislation for legalizing marijuana at the state level. Since then, various states have taken it upon themselves to declare marijuana, or various medical marijuana products, legal or decriminalized. To be clear, marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
Marijuana’s complicated legal status makes celebrating 4/20 tricky for most marketers. Among the most brazen is Ben & Jerry’s, a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever. Ben & Jerry’s this year is promoting the MORE Act, which has passed in the House of Representatives, but still awaits Senate approval. The MORE Act bill decriminalizes marijuana.
Slim Jim, a ConAgra brand, has announced a drive to reach 200,000 followers by 4/20 and promises that every person who retweets the plea gets a follow. Since the brand stood at 199.4K followers on April 19, one would wager that the brand has a good shot.
Jimmy John’s, an Illinois-based chain, tweeted on April 18 a plea to “Go ahead and schedule your sandwich order for Wednesday,” adding “Future You will thank Today You for being highly responsible.”
Wingstop, a Texas-based restaurant chain, is marketing “Blazed & Glazed” chicken wings that is says are “designed to taste like 4/20.” The chain also tweeted a 4/20 message.
Jack in the Box is selling a Pineapple Express shake, named after the stoner movie, and on April 20, the item, along with all other shakes on the menu, will sell for $4.20.
Old Pal, a budget brand, is selling three select marijuana plants in Southern California on 4/20, part of its “Grow Your Own” initiative.
On the philanthropic side, Wana Brands, “North America’s Most Trusted Edibles Brand,” has rolled out “4Ward20,” an effort to “weed out hunger.” Wana Brands is contributing $10,000 each to 14 food-focused nonprofits. “We’re skipping the usual barrage of discounts and not-so-sustainable swag and instead focusing our resources on one of the key pillars of our social responsibility program: fighting food insecurity,” the brand wrote on its website.