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Shopping for gifts on Christmas Eve or for beer on Super Bowl Sunday seems ridiculous, but malls and liquor stores are always full when those days come. Denver has its own special holiday on April 20, when pharmacies see lines out the door – and in some cases down the street – during the world’s unofficial marijuana celebration.

Denver was still not out of a pandemic and was without public activities and major events for a second straight year as April 20th rolled around, but that didn’t stop people from showing up at their local pot stores, according to Alex Levine, Co -Co owner of one of the largest pharmacy chains in the state, Green Dragon.

Levine says, “4/20 definitely still has a magic spell over people. I get it, but part of me doesn’t understand either. There are still no events or big concerts going on, and no downtown festival again But we still blew last year [sales] no more water. I had a deal yesterday that was almost 45 percent higher than the day before. “

From Denver to Breckenridge, Green Dragon stores saw sales up on April 20, 2021 compared to 2020. Levine adds that Tuesday was no mean feat, as Monday and Tuesday are typically the slowest sales days of the week for pharmacies.

“I think the big question for us was 4/20 while last year’s COVID is harder to compare than this year because the lockdown was new,” says Levine. “4/20 always impresses me.”

For the pharmacies, however, the campaign did not go smoothly everywhere. Flowhub, a major provider of point-of-sale systems to the marijuana industry, had technical issues and even closed stores across town for extended periods early in the day, causing customer complaints on social media and even longer lines than usual since the Pharmacy employees were forced to conduct paper transactions.

Lise Gee, vice president of marketing, said Lightshade, a Denver-based pharmacy chain with nine subway locations, had “intermittent all-day” outages with Flowhub at most stores. The glitches were generally brief, she added, and had no overall operational impact.

In a statement to Westword, Flowhub blamed an “interruption” in the third-party software authentication system used by Auth0.

“Flowhub and many other well-known technology companies rely on Auth0 for secure logins. Some of our customers were affected,” the statement said. “As we are committed to maintaining the security of our customers and their data, we have worked with Auth0 to resolve this issue as efficiently as possible. The systems are now fully functional and working as usual. We apologize for the situation and are committed to doing this right for all of our loyal customers and users. ”

Green Dragon doesn’t use Flowhub, but Levine has experienced software shutdowns before. A protracted problem “can lead to significant sales losses, is very stressful for employees and is not fun for customers,” he explains. However, pharmacies are used to going into battle on April 20th, and most of them now have “crash kits,” a set of instructions and materials that staff can use to manually process transactions when the electronics fails.

Even when sales systems were working yesterday, the lines were long. At the pharmacies in Capitol Hill, around the Golden Triangle, and on South Broadway, all the customers that stretched out across the streets were crowded.

Some recordings of these lines on April 20th, 2021:

Outside Lit Pharmacy on South Broadway.EXPAND

Outside Lit Pharmacy on South Broadway.

Thomas Mitchell

Customers wait in front of the higher grade pharmacy in the Golden Triangle.EXPAND

Customers wait in front of the higher grade pharmacy in the Golden Triangle.

Thomas Mitchell

Local Colorado product at 419 West 13th Avenue.EXPAND

Local Colorado product at 419 West 13th Avenue.

Thomas Mitchell

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Thomas Mitchell has been writing about everything cannabis-related for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news en route to publications like the Republic of Arizona, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.