Got the Munchies? Food Brands Are Taking 4/20 Celebrations to the Next Level

April 20, 2019, 5:40 PM UTC
Carl's Jr.

It’s April 20th—better known by cannabis enthusiasts as 4/20—and various food brands are finding new ways to celebrate the national marijuana holiday with hungrier-than-usual customers.

Corporations have been cashing in on the holiday for years, with punny tweets and promotions about the munchies. Now they’re riding a tailwind of popularity, with the ongoing green wave of state marijuana legalization and President Donald Trump in December signing the Farm Bill, which contains a provision permitting the use of cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical compound from the cannabis plant thought to have health benefits.

Here’s a sampling of businesses embracing the 4/20 wave.

Ben & Jerry’s

“Having fun was our first goal, celebrating with our fans on the 4/20 holiday, and being able to deliver a values component to the local community affected really makes this meaningful to Ben & Jerry’s,” Justin Gural, the Vermont-based ice cream company’s marketing manager, tells Fortune.

Ben & Jerry’s is again using weed wordplay for social action. In a co-branded partnership with San Francisco-based marijuana dispensary Caliva, a “blunt” message is being broadcast by each company on Twitter and in their blogs about the racial disparity of who gets incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes.

“Even though black people and white people use pot at similar rates, black people are still arrested way more often than whites,” Ben & Jerry’s blogged, announcing that it’s calling on Congress for criminal justice reform, and asking followers to join the campaign.

The ice cream maker is also giving a free pint of Half Baked ice cream today in California for those who get a delivery from Caliva. Additionally, Caliva is donating 4.2% of sales to Clear My Record, an initiative from Code For America seeking to clear cannabis convictions in the state. From “celebration to expungement,” Gural said of Ben & Jerry’s expanding 4/20 focus.

Carl’s Jr.

The fast food chain has stepped up its 4/20 game in a different way: Launching a new product at a location in Denver, Colo. For one day only, customers can buy a CBD-infused burger called Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight. (In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.)

As Patty Trevino, senior vice president of brand marketing for Carl’s Jr., told CNN, the “future Carl’s Jr. customers that are younger…are more open to different flavors of products.”

Other corporations are betting the non-psychoactive hemp derivative is appealing to all demographics. With 7% of Americans already using it, a recent study by Cowen & Co. found the CBD market could hit $15 billion by 2025. In the last month, CVS Pharmacy announced it’s selling CBD products in 800 stores located in eight states, Walgreens has plans to sell sprays, creams, and patches made of the cannabis compound in 1,500 stores across nine states.

Dos Toros

For a week, the Mexican food chain Dos Toros has been hyping 4/20 to its burrito-loving consumers, using munchie memes, comedy sketches, and previews of its promotional deal: Customers who say “half baked” when ordering will get the restaurant’s recently launched nachos for $4.20.

“Every year, we also pass out branded Dos Toros lighters to the first 100 guests at every location who participate in the deal. It’s so great to see that people save their lighters and share them on social media,” a Dos Toros spokesperson tells Fortune. “The brand has been participating with fun activities for the holiday for years… One of the benefits of being a smaller brand is being more nimble and playful.”

Insomnia Cookies

The late-night cookie shop is giving a free cookie to anyone who comes into the store throughout the day—no purchase necessary.

“With our college student demographics, sweet dessert offerings and 3 a.m. late-night delivery options, it’s only natural that we embrace whatever trends and holidays that might align with those offerings,” a spokesperson for Insomnia Cookies tells Fortune.


Wingstop is sponsoring the 4/20 festival at San Francisco’s Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park—giving all revelers free Lemon Pepper and Spicy Korean Q wings. On Facebook, Hulu, and Twitter, the company’s also bringing back its Effie Award-winning ads featuring cartoon characters Lil’ Ranchy and friends going to the restaurant to curb their munchies.

“Last year Lemon Pepper was the most popular flavor for 4/20 fans,” a spokesperson tells Fortune. “For the past four years, Wingstop has positioned its flavor as the perfect solution to satisfying the cravings that come with celebrating 4/20. This day resonates with fans worldwide and we aren’t afraid to embrace our product’s relevance in culture!”

Here’s how some other brands are celebrating on Twitter, and with in store-wide promotions:

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