Every April brings with it the hopes and dreams of every cannabis lover – a celebration of everything cannabis on the 20th of the month.
It’s widely agreed upon that the tradition was rooted in the 70’s, when a group of stoners would meet after school for a toke in the parking lot at 4:20pm. TIME magazine reports that one of the boys in the cypher knew the bassist of The Grateful Dead, helping the term ‘420’ to go viral among the stoner population.
At first, it was just California Deadheads in the 90’s using the term. Then, High Times magazine, the stoner bible at the time, published one of their flyers promoting a ‘420’ meetup.
Once High Times endorsed the term, the fate of April 20th was forever sealed as the official-unofficial cannabis holiday.
This year’s celebration marks a significant time in America, where for the first time, more states than not have some form of cannabis reform law. The celebrations span the country, from the High Times Cannabis Cup in NoCal, to Denver’s World Cannabis Week, and Washington DC’s National Cannabis Festival.
Here’s a deeper dive into what each of them have to offer in 2017:
Colorado Celebrates Cannabis
The state of Colorado remains at the top of the heap when it comes to cannabis culture, as it’s home to the leaders in the green space who have made Colorado cannabis a billion-dollar market. It’s matured recreational market makes the Mile High City a great place to meet ganjapreneurs, cannabis lovers, and industry professionals.
Many would argue that it’s the mecca of marijuana.
In Denver, 420 isn’t just a day, it’s a whole week – and it’s called World Cannabis Week. The week-long celebration of everything cannabis is in its fifth year and going strong as celebrities and cannabis enthusiasts return to celebrate the plant.
The best part – there’ll be free rides on consumption-friendly shuttles between the events.
420-cannabis events in Denver include:
- 420 Eve on the Rocks, featuring Redman and Method Man
- Scavenger hunt for prizes
- Discounts to Denver’s top dispensaries
- 420 Rally at Civic Center Park in Downtown Denver
- 420 Block Party
- 420 Bazaar of local companies
For the past three years, My 420 Tours has reliably been a staple in cannabis tourism in Colorado and Seattle. With their guidance, 420 promises to be a safe and compliant experience with Colorado’s number one domestic product.
The National Cannabis Festival
If you can’t get your ticket to this year’s Denver festivities, there’s a new option for East coasters looking to celebrate 420; it’s called the National Cannabis Festival.
In its second year, festival goers will be able to celebrate and advocate only a few minutes’ drive away from where Congress convenes on The Hill.
Washington DC is home to the Nation’s Congressional body. It’s the perfect spot for cannabis brands, consumers, and advocates to rally for national cannabis reform, says the NCF spokesperson.
“The NCF team is working with a variety of national advocates to destigmatize cannabis and elevate the conversation about how the war on drugs impacts social justice and personal liberty. NCF is also the largest celebration bringing together enthusiasts, activists, business leaders, politicians and distributors on the East Coast,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement.
The event takes place the weekend of 420, at RFK stadium festival grounds in Washington, DC on April 22. The festival also coincides with the “March for Science” and Earth Day in the nation’s capital.
This year, Talib Kweli, The Pharcyde, and Backyard Band are headlining the main stage.
Their Education Pavilion features experts speaking and answering questions at panel discussions, cannabis related demonstrations, and awards ceremonies.
For cannabis start-ups and small businesses, there’s a CannaTank competition. The competition allows the opportunity for owners to present their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win a thousand dollars worth of support for getting their business off the ground.
The Change Makers Award will be announced during the festival, which recognizes policymakers from the state or federal level, who have advocated for ending cannabis prohibition in the interest of fiscal policy, personal liberty, medical alternatives, or equal justice.
Washington DC legalized cannabis and has medical marijuana, however, no legal recreational sales of cannabis are allowed. On the bright side, cannabis lovers can share and trade up to an ounce, legally.
The Cannabis Cup
The OG of cannabis festivals and competitions, The High Times Cannabis Cup, is leaving the Mile High City to head out West. Their 420 celebration is slated for April 21 through the 23 in SoCal.
It’s the first-ever recreational High Times US Cannabis Cup in California, as the state voted to legalize adult use cannabis this past November.
The celebration is taking place at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino.
The major events for Cup attendees include:
- Live Grow Rooms
- “Taste of Cannabis” Chef Competition
- Topical Massage Spa
- Legalization Celebration Pavilion featuring a rally stage for activists, including veterans for cannabis
- Cannabis Career Fair
- Music line-up to be announced
- Expert advice on concentrates, including an inside look at how they perform lab testing
The publication is also making their knowledgeable staff and editors available during the three day cannabis extravaganza.
High Times warns that it’ll be their only Cannabis Cup event planned for SoCal, as they don’t plan to make it an annual event in the Golden State. The Cup has a long history of traveling around to cities all over the world.
The first Cup was held back in 1988 in Amsterdam, and has since been strategically changing venues to different states as they adopt cannabis reform. Already in 2017, High Times held a Cup in Nevada. They are already selling tickets to their SoCal 420 event, and their Nor-Cal Cannabis Cup this summer.
Now, as the legalization movement gains unprecedented momentum around the country, the people at High Times are announcing the reinstitution of an actual Cannabis Cup.
“High Times has decided to bring back the original, artisan-created Cup trophies that have been at the center of our competition for nearly 30 years,” they said in an announcement. “Beginning in 2017, we are honored to have the esteemed artist and cannabis crusader Alex Grey as our partner in creating artisanal Cannabis Cups for the winners of the most prestigious cannabis awards on Earth.”
A Festivus for the Rest of Us
Unsure of which one to attend? One easy way to weed out the festivals that aren’t right for you, is to budget out your trip. Find out the cost of your transportation, overnight accommodations, and tickets.
The price can get steep, especially when you factor in how much ganja you’ll be burning through, throughout your stay.