4/20 Washington Retail Sales – Actual Numbers

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4/20 Washington Retail Sales – Actual Numbers

I’ve seen a number of estimates of what 4/20 would bring in Retail Cannabis sales in Washington recently and was successful in keeping my mouth (and keyboard) shut on the issue this year. After forecasting this and a number of other significant sales milestones over the past two years, I felt it would be good to take a break and see what others that purport to service the industry with data would come up with. Would the void be filled?

It was, but I see discrepancies between the actual data and what has been said about 4/20/2016 and 4/20/2017. Factual and/or arithmetic errors impact the history and estimates published by others. Methodological biases are not mentioned … and are, perhaps, not realized by the authors.

Now that I’m seeing folks beginning to report on what actually happened last Thursday, I just can’t help myself.


To set the story straight, a number of records were broken for Retail sales last Thursday.

We saw our first day with over $5 million dollars in Retail sales in Washington, representing an increase of 131% over the average day of retail sales seen during the first 19 days of April. (as opposed to one of the “for-pay” data sites that is running around saying it is 79%)

These $5.45 million in retail sales generated over $2 million in excise taxes for the State (another first).

These $5.45 million in retail sales represent an 87.5% growth over the retail sales seen on 4/20 of 2016.

Biggest retail sales day in our market’s history … by a long shot.

Those selling access to the data to the masses (and giving incorrect information to the media), please try to get your inputs and arithmetic right. I can’t wait to see how you model the dynamics of the market. Alt. facts have no place when real ones are available.


  1. Robert says:

    Dude, get you own life

    • Jim MacRae says:

      Robert – thank-you. Your life advice to me is appreciated.
      I will, indeed, attempt to get me own life.
      Any suggestions from friends and/or helpful people as to how I might be successful in that effort would be appreciated.

  2. Aaron says:

    Thanks Jim! As always you’re accurate analysis of the market is second to none. A big “Thank you” for all your hard work and holding scoundrels accountable.

    • Jim MacRae says:

      My pleasure, Aaron.

      I don’t believe anyone is being a scoundrel here (or is even trying to be a scoundrel).

      The media coverage of one group’s assertion that the retail market had grown 79% on 4/20 vs. the average daily retail sales seen during the first 19 days of April has been largely wrong. That is probably in part due to the omission from a businesswire posting of the fact that the 79% referred only to the stores that had signed up for the “real-time” tracking service of the vendor in question (lemonhaze). As the complete state-wide growth seen on 4/20 was actually 131%, it’s pretty clear (as it has been with almost every statistic they have presented as if it were representative of the entire state) that the subset of retail stores they have on-board are not representative (or even close to, in some ways) the overall Washington Retail Market. The Seattle PI, to their credit, got this subtlety of the data correct in their reporting today (on 4/26). I’ve been in contact with this vendor, and hopefully they will set the “newswire” straight .. I’ve already seen incorrect reports on Yahoo finance and a couple of other places that are using this “wrong” info.

      The other group (TopShelfData) reported numbers from 4/20/2016 that are different than the overall state numbers (the “truth”). I spoke with them earlier today and they were reporting things at the “average per store” level, cut by County. When rolling these “average daily sales” figures up to the state level, averages of averages were reported — without taking into account the different number of stores per County and/or the different sales volumes of different stores. This is, actually, what they intended to do and, after speaking with them today I understand what they did, and why.

      They have added a brief note to their blog post that clears up the difference between what they did and a more traditional view of the State average. I was, frankly a bit surprised at what appeared to be an error, in that most of the work that this group does looks both well thought out and well executed. You can check their posting out at http://www.topshelfdata.com/blog/420.

      • Aaron says:

        “Sloppy quantitative work…” Scoundrels! haha I was referring to all the scoundrels you help define not just in this situation.

  3. Susy Wilson says:

    Thanks for keeping us informed Jim!

    • Jim MacRae says:

      Thank-you, Susy. I appreciate your supportive words.

      I hope my post did not come across as too “ranty” …. I just lost it a bit when I saw a westside newspaper article quoting dramatically wrong numbers regarding how much sales had grown last Thursday relative to the first 19 days of April.

      Sloppy quantitative work makes people less likely to trust the work and/or objectivity of numbers folks.

      As a numbers folk, I’m a bit sensitive to that and I believe my lack of tolerance on this issue came across in my post.

      Regardless … one heckuva day of sales. Quite a bit more than I (personally) had predicted.

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