Hoopla in Denver surrounding April 20th aka 4/20 aka The High Holiday is unwarranted, unwanted and won’t be tolerated. St Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve and their wanton disregard of the serious, professional drunk are the closest comparison than can be made to the fabricated narrative that frames the gluttony this day has become synonymous with. Save getting your wisdom teeth pulled to coincide with this date and avoid the all the pain.
It’s getting harder to miss the carnival when it’s in town for over a week—but that’s how to make more money. It’s a race to the bottom for the almighty dollar. Funk Doc, M.E.T.H.O.D. Man, B-Real, Snoop and Wiz Khalifa know they always have a solid payday come this time of year. New to the hustle in 2017, Gucci Mane and 2Chainz are hoping they’re able to turn their pro-cannabis leanings into a reliable income stream for when Trap Rap falls out of fashion in the future.
The legacy of four twenty started with a crew called the Waldos and a statue of Louis Pasteur. These days, rank and file members of the cannabis “community” descend on Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Vegas and other hotbeds of marijuana industry infrastructure to encourage a lifestyle of irresponsible and indefensible excess.
Crude behavior, wasteful indulgence, sexually suggestive marketing and gross negligence are typical of the gaudy booths that line venues and the events honoring the annual debacle. Ounce filled joints that begin to canoe immediately and multi gram dabs lost to the wind flood social media channels informing the Internet that a spot is “lit as fuck”. Tickets priced at $42.00 and kitschy souvenirs going for $4.20, free swag and unregulated marijuana sales accompany 4/20 celebrations like cake at a birthday party.
Hallmarked by activism and advocacy, early events promoted respectful rebellion and demonstrated that large crowds of cannabis consumers could congregate without causing concern. By 2013, things got out of control as gunshots rang out at Civic Center Park’s annual spectacle in Denver. After proving incapable of delivering the peacefulness that cannabis claims as a side effect, grand celebrations are marred in red tape, poorly planned and have seen a large increase in presence and harassment from armed members of private security companies and Denver’s police force.
In favor of smaller and more subtly obscene showings, the state of Colorado has all but shut out High Times Magazine’s drug bazar know as the Cannabis Cup forcing the event to less desirable venues such as racetracks in Michigan and Indian Reservations near Las Vegas. This inconvenience has not prevented large flocks of Juggalos, Wooks and Light Healers from migrating en masse towards the promise of Cup Cough and the possibility of scoring LSD or other handshake drugs from members of the traveling circus.
Many attendees of 4/20 cups, concerts and carnivals are visitors from states with prohibitive cannabis legislation or those who are not old enough to legally consume legal cannabis in their home states. Unable to imagine a life where everyday can be 4/20, actions turn towards deplorable. Curiosity and ignorance lead them into temptation and has them behaving like the Amish on Rumspringa. Unaware of their trespasses and not looking for forgiveness, this crowd menaces the festivities with what happens here stays here arrogance while conducting themselves as if they’re above reproach. Blatant amateurism is on full display for all of mainstream media to retell as their interest in cannabis stays on the rise.
Hard as is it may be for some to believe, a large contingent of professionals use cannabis frequently throughout the workday. Hands on a clock or the day of the month do not determine when it’s time to get lifted. Cannabis is a conduit towards productivity and is less harmful than the nauseating amount of coffee and Adderall consumed in the name of efficiency and earnings.
Up early in the morning and staying at the office late into the evening—for these professionals—standard operating procedure may include copious amounts of dabs starting before the sun comes up or a blunt during a smoke break. April 20th is just another day on the calendar in the real world. Business as usual involves being elevated all the time to ensure morale remains high and that colleagues or supervisors won’t suspect that your lunch consists of the devil’s lettuce.
Hopefully the novelty of 4/20 will soon wear off however unlikely that may be. Legalization and normalization of medical and recreational cannabis use continues to expand globally offering opportunities to organize larger displays of conspicuous consumption. Indulging in fat joints with close friends over memorable conversations will always beat sitting in a park or being crammed into a tight spot among oblivious glitter-butted and patchouli scented revelers as they expound about chakras and energy fields.
This post was originally published on April 19, 2017, it was updated on October 5, 2017.