Denver’s annual 4/20 cannabis festival is the latest high-profile event to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak that has plagued the world.

Retailer Euflora was set to host FlyHi 420 at the Civic Center next month, with rapper Lil John headlining the event. However, Euflora has now announced that the free festival has been called off due to fears over the spread of coronavirus.

It followed a new directive from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who has banned public gatherings of more than 250 people. Denver has also ordered all bars and restaurants to close their doors and focus solely on takeaways.

This could lead to many more 4/20 gatherings across Colorado and the rest of the country not taking place, potentially denting sales.

The origins of 4/20 are debated – some say it references a group of students that would ritualistically smoke weed at 4:20 p.m. every day, while others believe it was the California police code for marijuana – but April 20 is a date cherished by marijuana users across America.

They gather in large groups and bond over a shared love of weed, and sales usually spike dramatically on the day. Mass gatherings look unlikely next month, but the cannabis sector could still cash in if home deliveries ramp up and weed lovers celebrate the day in the comfort of their own homes.

One retailer, Organic Alternatives in Fort Collins, Colorado, closed voluntarily on Monday due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus. “As a long-standing business in this community, we feel it is our responsibility to do what we can to help stop the spread of this virus,” it said in a statement.

Organic Alternatives said it was a difficult decision, but it felt compelled to take action due to the diverse number of patrons it typically welcomes from all over the world. The store will not reopen until it is safe to open without the need for social distancing.

Colorado was one of the first two states to legalize adult-use cannabis and sales reached a record $1.74 billion last year. That was a 12.3% increase on 2018, but it remains to be seen if the state can maintain its growth curve in the current climate.

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