It was 4/20 in Denver, and the town burned a few tons of weed in observance under a sweet Sunday afternoon sun.
This wasn’t the first 4/20 rally, but it was the first since recreational purchase of product was decriminalized.
Security was massively ramped up this year, with pat-downs at entrances, a big blinking sign reading “Marijuana Use Illegal” in front and a tower with police monitoring the crowd via binoculars. Local businesses set up pro-weed and pro-product related booths, hawking wares in a time-honored tradition.
Not every attendee was an earthy, groovy sort. Todd Miles, 55, describing himself as a consultant from Denver and conspicuously dressed in a button down shirt, said, “I’m here because it’s good to see the people rule, and celebrate the demise of what I would consider some very stupid laws.”
Sean P., 21, who didn’t wish to provide his last name, was here to display his 5-foot bong, offering long drags to anyone who asked in between partaking himself. “It’s a great way to meet girls,” he said.
The heavy police presence and signage didn’t stop anyone from rolling joints, openly displaying large bags of weed or puffing oversized blunts, though. Nor everyone did so with impunity, however. According to the Denver Post, 47 citations had been issued for public marijuana use by the end of the day, and 16 people had been arrested or cited for other infractions. Denver Health Medical Center paramedics reported treating 14 people, and about 6 people were seen at the hospital for complaints ranging from too much sun to over-celebrating. But overall, the mood was a mellow, festive one. “It’s about time,” said Crystal Santoro, 27, who drove to the event from San Francisco with three friends armed with sandwiches and hula-hoops. “You hula better when you’re buzzed.”
Similar celebrations took place in the state of Washington, where recreational use is also now legal.
And if you think weed started with Sgt. Pepper or “Reefer Madness,” — here’s Chico Marx talking about Groucho’s grouch bag:
Josh Max, Auto Gigolo (Photos by Josh Max)