Why cannabis brands are promoting their products as Father’s Day gifts

With legalization, and cannabis less stigmatized, getting Dad a tie could evolve into getting him high.
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KushKards/DankStop/The Artist Tree

4 min read

Historically, even grown children with their own homes and 401ks have been apt to hide their cannabis stashes from their parents, out of habit from their high school days or just not wanting to upset them.

But today—when cannabis is legal for recreational use in more than 20 states and the retail stores selling it are thriving—much of the stigma of the Reefer Madness era has gone up in smoke.

An indicator of just how normalized partaking has become is playing out this month. For Father’s Day, consumers are being urged to eschew such mainstay gifts as ties and golf balls and to instead give paterfamilias a gift he’ll never remember.

“It’s not like every dad wants power tools and beer,” declares a promotional page with Father’s Day gift suggestions on DankStop, an online store that sells smoking accouterments. “Some are hitting their bubbler or bong from their college days.”

Among the offerings DankStop suggests to upgrade Dad’s dorm-room pipe is a $205 bong from Marley Natural with walnut wood accents.

DankStop also suggests a greeting card that declares “Dads are Dope,” which includes two bands at the top to add a pre-rolled joint and a book of matches, made by KushKards ($10.50).

“The best Dads smoke Dope!” the card’s product description enthuses. “The ‘Dope Dad’ Cannabis Greeting Card is for the stoner fathers who enjoy the green.”

Cannabis, it seems, has come full circle, from something you hide from parents to something you share with them.

Smoking a number: While it might have once been associated with youthful rebellion, cannabis use today spans generations. According to CDC data, when asked if they’ve used marijuana in the last month, use is declining among the underaged:

  • From 2002 to 2019, those aged 16 to 17 who’d used cannabis in the last month fell from 15.7% to 14.9%.

But it’s going up for their elders:

  • For those 18–25, it rose from 17.3% to 23%.
  • For those 26–34, it rose from 7.7% to 19%.
  • For those 35 and older, it rose from 3.1% to 8.2%.

At The Artist Tree, a combined retail cannabis store and art gallery with six locations in California, shoppers who are 18 to 25 comprise 21% of their customers, its marketing director Caroline Fontein told Retail Brew. (Under California state law, 18- to 20-year-olds can purchase cannabis for medical use with a physician’s recommendation, while the recreational threshold is 21). That’s less than those aged 25 to 34 (30%) and—hello, Seth Rogen—35 to 44 (23%). Those over 45 account for 26% of customers.

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In other words, there likely are plenty of parents (and grandparents) who find their way into The Artist Tree, and some of the fathers among them might be getting something gift-wrapped from there on June 18, thanks to a current promotion.

A tokin’ of your affection: Through June 17, the store is offering what it calls Father’s Day Penny Gift Bags, whereby purchasers are given a bag of cannabis goodies, like pre-rolled joints and gummies, valued at $50 with a $99 purchase. (The store has to charge $0.01 for the bags because California law prohibits retailers from giving cannabis away in a promotion.)

Fontein said that while older generations may have heard about the purported health benefits of cannabis, such as treating chronic pain and improving sleep, they may have hesitation about visiting a store to see what’s on offer.

“With the older generation…there’s a big appetite to want to explore that category and those products, but sometimes it’s intimidating coming into a store where you might not know what you’re looking for,” Fontein said.

Cannabis-curious older consumers may also associate cannabis with smoking, and Fontein said that getting dad a gift of THC that he doesn’t have to light up could be a revelation.

“There’s a lot of different formats out now,” Fontein said, including “a THC-infused wine or different edible formats…You might not want to actually smoke a joint, but maybe doing something like vaping could be more appealing.”

For Mother’s Day, The Artist Tree offered a 25% discount for edibles, concentrates, and THC-infused wellness products like balms, through which regular cannabis purchasers had an opportunity to turn parents on to non-smokable cannabis.

It “helped us with product discovery,” Fontein said.

In the flame of the father: At Smoke Cartel, which describes itself as an “online headshop,” its Father’s Day sale offers 15% off of the items in the Staff Picks section.

Another online store, King’s Pipe, is offering 15% off all sales over $20 for its Father’s Day sale.

At checkout, there’s a discount code: 420DAD.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.