Wednesday April 17, 2019

By Andrew Ward

Celebrating 4/20 in the Age of Cannabis Legalization 420 Culture

It’s almost 4/20 and that means there’s plenty to celebrate for cannabis enthusiasts. The day of cannabis celebration and consumption has long been the community's equivalent to Christmas. Some prefer to keep the day low-key and partake alone or with a small group. Meanwhile, scores of others congregate at massive gatherings happening across the globe. In the U.S., this applies to both legal and illegal states. Meanwhile, in Canada, it stands poised to celebrate its first 4/20 with legalized cannabis sales.



It is believed that 4/20 traces back to the early '70s in Marin County, California. There, a group of friends would meet after school at the famous time of day and smoke against the wall outside of school. This earned them the nickname “The Waldos,” and the cannabis journeys continued to what it is today. Now, let’s have a look at some of the journeys happening this year, as well as some “do’s and don’ts” for the day.

For a comprehensive list of cannabis events happening across the country this 4/20, check out our 4/20 Events Guide.

4/20 Events, Activities and Tours

4/20 events and gatherings were popular long before legalization began to became en vogue. For years, college campuses were ground zero for mass smokeouts. Particular Colorado or California campuses even looked like a small fog cloud had rolled in and isolated itself to the quad, and it continues today.

No worries if you’re past college age, though. 4/20 events are for all adults. Legal markets offer scores of options to ring in the holiday. Los Angeles has so many parties and festivals it may prove difficult choosing which to attend. Just some of the names include the Kaleidoscope Experience, the BudTrader Ball and the 420 Greenhouse Party. San Francisco is doing the same, including its third annual 420 Bud Drop at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. Snoop Dogg will also be hosting his after party for the 25th anniversary of his album, Doggystyle. Or, if you'd rather not make your high the focus of the evening, you could find out how trippy the stage rendition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is over at the SNH Golden Gate Theatre.

Smoking a Joint
There's plenty of cannabis-related fun to be had this 4/20! photo credit

Denver is another destination for 4/20 events. This year includes the Mile High 420 Festival featuring T.I. and Jermaine Dupri happening in Civic Center Park. Other activities include the Peak Dispensary 4/20 Event, The Puff Ball, Shotgun’s Circus, and many more! In addition to these locations, scores of other major markets will be home to a variety of 4/20 options, including gatherings, rallies, concerts featuring favorite cannabis musicians, parties and so much more.

The happenings are not just relegated to legal markets by any means, either. New York City, for example, is home to just as many events as you may find in LA or other go-to destinations. Some festivities are clear obvious cannabis events, like any promotions held at CBD or medical dispensaries in the city. Meanwhile, plenty of other options are either geared toward the cannabis community with 4/20 in its titles, or it just happens to align very well. For example, a nighttime boat cruise around the city may not be able to be upfront about its theme, but we all know what the subtext is. Or, at the very least, it can be made into a 4/20 event if you should choose. Wherever you are, ask you community. They’ll have solid advice on how to celebrate.

4/20 Do’s and Don’ts

When celebrating the ‘high’ holiday, celebrate at your own pace and how you see fit. There's no need to rip numerous dabs if you're usually casually puffing on a joint through the day. Feel free to do more than usual, but no need to do it in excess. And if you worry that you may end up in this spot, bring some CBD, it can help lessen the effects of THC.

The same can be said about 4/20 events. Some will want just to have fun while others want to be productive. In some cases, 4/20 is a group affair. And for others, they like to do their thing on their own at home or somewhere secluded out in nature. In short, this 4/20, endeavor to do you. Also, if you see someone struggling, offer them a hand and help them. This is the cannabis community after all. Let's practice what we preach.

While celebrating is warranted, be sure to remember those who can’t. There are scores of people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses. People have died in prisons, while families and communities were torn apart because of the failed and misleading War on Drugs. Though this day should be celebratory, the fight for criminal justice reform and equitable access to the cannabis for all must be prioritized. Even if it’s just a few minutes, visit organizations like NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance and many others to learn more about how you can help right these wrongs on 4/20 and the rest of the year.


How are you celebrating 4/20 this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Cannabis Destiny (license)


Andrew Ward Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Andrew has covered the cannabis industry for publications like AOL and Cannabis Culture. He is also an avid screenwriter, fantasy soccer fanatic, and aspiring world traveler.


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