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Brands And Advocacy Groups—From ACLU To KFC—Launch 4/20 Promotions To Mark The Marijuana Holiday

The cannabis holiday 4/20 is upon us again, and that means a new series of marijuana-themed promotions and campaigns from mainstream corporations that seek to leverage the popularity of the expanding reform movement.



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As cannabis has become more normalized—with nearly half of the states in the U.S. having enacted adult-use legalization at this point—companies and organizations have grown increasingly emboldened to lean into the occasion, including national players such as KFC and Jimmy Johns promoting 4/20-coded deals.


It’s starting to get on the nerves of prohibitionists, too. Ahead of 4/20, the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) even put out a call-to-action urging people to reach out to the sandwich company and demand that they pull their $10 “Deliciously Dope Dime Bag” promotion.

 

“This campaign not only sends a poor message to our youth and young adults about drug use, but also ignores the science supporting the dangers of todays’ high potency products,” SAM said, adding that the promotion is a “disgrace” for the company.


But in general, most cannabis enthusiasts and reform-friendly companies are just preparing for the holiday, scoping out deals and promoting advocacy initiatives—as has become tradition.


This year’s event also comes amid heightened expectations about federal marijuana reform, as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) works to complete a review into cannabis scheduling under President Joe Biden’s 2022 directive.


DEA is considered a recommendation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which wouldn’t federally legalize marijuana, but industry stakeholders are eagerly anticipating the potential incremental reform nonetheless.


Advocates and congressional lawmakers have amplified their push for reform in the days leading up to 4/20, with calls to advance comprehensive legalization, as well as modest proposals to free up banks to work with state-legal marijuana businesses, for example.

Here’s a look at how companies, organizations and celebs are marking the cannabis occasion: 


ACLU


ACLU is welcoming cannabis reform supporters to buy branded clothing, rolling trays, matches and more that promote an end to marijuana criminalization.


“We’re fighting for not only the legalization of marijuana, but also for the repair of decades of past damage,” the civil rights organization said. “Even as marijuana becomes legal or decriminalized in more states, rampant racial disparities still remain and thousands of people are still behind bars for innocuous cannabis charges.”


“A more just system isn’t possible until all people incarcerated for marijuana are released and criminal records for these offenses are expunged,” it said.


Ben & Jerry’s


The ice cream company is well-known for its advocacy around marijuana legalization, and it’s celebrating the culture while promoting reform again this 4/20.


Together with the ACLU, Ben & Jerry’s is using the holiday to encourage fans to pressure their state governments to provide clemency for people who’ve been criminalized over marijuana.


“It’s not enough to decarcerate people convicted for cannabis-related offenses. To truly achieve cannabis justice, we also have to do what’s necessary to ensure people are no longer haunted by these convictions,” Palika Makam, Ben & Jerry’s U.S. Activism Manager, said in a press release. “Countless people are still incarcerated and continue to be burdened by convictions for cannabis-related offenses even in states where cannabis is legal.”


KFC


KFC is launching a pop-up shop in Los Angeles on Saturday where adults are invited to try the restaurant’s newly released line of “Saucy Nuggets” and buy limited-edition merchandise centered around the product. Neither the nuggets nor the sauce will be infused with THC, but the event gives a not-so-subtly nod to the munchies cannabis consumers might experience on the holiday.


Jimmy John’s


As mentioned above, the sandwich company is rolling out a prohibitionist-disapproved $10 deal called the “Deliciously Dope Dime Bag.”


Meanwhile, prohibitionists at SAM say it’s inappropriate for a “family brand” to latch onto cannabis culture and is asking its supporters to pressure the company to drop the campaign.


Popeyes


The chicken chain is offering a $4.20 Chicken Sandwich deal and Munchies Menu at participating U.S. restaurants.


&pizza


The company has been offering daily deals in the week leading up to 4/20, including offering some items for $4.20 while giving discounts of $4.20 off others.


Rockstar Games


Rockstar is offering in-game deals for 420-themed bonuses for Grand Theft Auto players.


Pizza Pizza


The company if offering a special “pre-roll” product it says is “0% cannabis” yet “100% delicious.”


Zippo


The lighter company is seeking to honor 4/20 and elevate the smoking game with its new “20th of April Collection” of sophisticated lighters.


“At Zippo, we understand that cannabis enthusiasts want accessories that reflect their personality and desire to live with confidence,” says Lucas Johnson, associate vice president of global marketing at Zippo, said. “With the ’20th of April Collection,’ we want to embrace the spirit of the holiday but offer a range of lighters that combines practicality with premium quality. These are lighters you would be equally proud to use as to display on your coffee table or bookshelf.”


Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream


The famous New York ice cream shop Morgenstern’s has teamed up with the cannabis delivery business Doobie to give away a limited-edition treat called “Doobie Scoobie Snacks” to mark the marijuana holiday.


“This collaboration with Morgenstern’s is a celebration of how far the cannabis industry has come and where it’s headed,” Jessica Powell, Doobie’s co-founder, said. “Bringing cannabis together with New York’s famous food scene on such a notable scale for 420 shows societal norms are evolving. We wanted to pay homage to classic munchies while crafting a flavor that combines great taste with a touch of playfulness, perfect for cannabis enthusiasts and ice cream lovers alike.

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