Top 5 Popular International 4/20 Rituals
In North America, 4/20 has become a unique holiday for the marijuana counterculture. Events include consuming the herb in generous quantities, of course, but celebrations can also reflect political advocacy for the legalization of cannabis. Here's a look at the top five popular international 4/20 rituals.
World Cannabis Week in Denver, Colorado
Hands down, Denver is the place to be for 4/20 events in America. The city is host to the World Cannabis Week gathering from April 19th through April 23rd. The spectacle draws participants from all over the world and features numerous events including concerts, block parties, and a huge bazaar with every item one can imagine related to cannabis culture
Denver fully embraces World Cannabis Week, and the city even permits special 4/20 shuttles to run throughout the day and night. These special shuttles ferry celebrants from one destination to another during this ongoing affirmation of weed. Concerts scheduled for the 2017 edition will feature Method Man, Redman, Flatbush Zombies, and the Thievery Corporation.
It's all about the strains, however, and cannabis connoisseurs will be able to sample a variety of grows from multiple vendors throughout the entire week. Visitors to the festival should be aware that the standard laws for recreational marijuana use in Colorado still apply and are not suspended for the length of the event.
Hyde Park Weed Walkabouts
In the UK, a longstanding 4/20 ritual has been for individuals to gather in Hyde Park to have a toke and take a walkabout through neighborhoods like Leicester Square. It isn't uncommon for revelers to even encounter a celebrity or two along the way.
The Hyde Park celebrations in London have traditionally have been tinged with political advocacy, but the mood is laid back and celebratory. The park is filled with musicians, artists, and carnival performers such as human statues and sword swallowers. It is also common for attendees to participate in drum circles and other consciousness-expanding activities.
It's all about taking a walk, though, and many of those who venture to Hyde Park will get baked and then set out on foot to explore their surroundings. Many remark that the walkabouts are an opportunity to let the psychoactive effects of cannabis work their magic on the senses.
Social Media Reefer Madness
Not all popular 4/20 rituals occur in the physical world. We live in a digital age, and it's only natural that some individuals like to incorporate social media into their 4/20 celebrations. Snapchat has developed a unique way to capitalize on the popularity of Weed Day by allowing users access to a special 4/20 filter.
On April 20th, Snapchat has a face filter that can only be used on that day. It disappears on April 21st. In 2016, the company faced some backlash when it allowed users to transform themselves into Bob Marley. Critics claimed the filter was racially insensitive. It is expected that in 2017 Snapchat will scale down the filter to include “4/20” alongside the normal picture of a user. The company is keeping the specifics of the 2017 filter under wraps until the actual day arrives.
Smoke Out Vancouver
On April 20, 2017, individuals will once again gather at Sunset Beach in Vancouver for a politically-themed celebration of 4/20. This Canadian gathering has been a tradition for many years. Despite the efforts of local officials to stop the ritual assembly, thousands gather every year for a day of music, speeches, and other events which advocate the legalization of marijuana.
Activist Marc Embry began the ritual in 1995. Embry claims that the employees of his Vancouver headshop came up with the original idea, and states that he was initially opposed to the idea of smoking weed and playing music all day. The employees proceeded with the event anyway, and now Embry claims the Vancouver event was the first organized celebration of 4/20 in the world. While that claim is hard to substantiate, it is certainly the longest running.
In 2016, the event was moved from the downtown Vancouver area to Sunset Beach. In March, local officials voted to refuse the organizers a permit for the gathering. This also happened last year, but the event went off without a hitch.
For many cannabis users, a 4/20 ritual will simply involve hanging out with friends and smoking up. Some people don't have the means or desire to attend a public gathering, so they just look at the day as an opportunity to indulge without guilt.
Stock the house with snacks, find a good strain, and pop in a Blu-Ray or DVD of an old Cheech and Chong classic. Break out the vinyl and dim the lights for a 70's musical flashback. Do nothing or anything at all. There really is no wrong way to enjoy 4/20. It's a day that encourages everyone to do their thing, whatever that is.