420 in Colorado

Make the most of this green holiday with tips and activities hand-selected by Lightshade.

Sure, St. Patty’s Day is green, but the greenest day of the year is 420. The roots of 420 are vague (and change depending on who you ask). Here’s what people say:

  • 420 is the number of active chemical compounds found in cannabis.
  • 420 somehow relates back to teatime in Holland.
  • 420 was born from Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”, the song in which Dylan famously sings, “Everybody must get stoned”—because, 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420.
  • 420 is a code used by law enforcement for “marijuana smoking in progress.”
  • 420 is the birthdate of a particular figure in history who we’d rather not mention by name (it is, in fact, his birthday).

So, what’s the real story? As with many stories related to cannabis, the tale of 420 involves music—and it’s hazy.

Let’s roll back the tape (or papers) to Marin County, California, 1971. Five local high school students decide to meet at 4:20 pm near a statue of the legendary chemist Louis Pasteur for a toke. The group, known as the “Waldos” (they met next to a hidden wall near the statue), used 420 as code for cannabis when making plans for their next session.

Later, one of the Waldos found work with the Grateful Dead as a roadie. He brought more than just his skills at handling bassist Phil Lesh’s gear—he brought the notion of 420 too.

On December 28, 1990, a collection of Deadheads who were familiar with the then-underground code, organized a gathering of people to smoke “420” at 4:20 pm. We can thank those Deadheads for envisioning a day each year where people gather to enjoy cannabis at the same time. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fast-forward to 2019 and 420 in Colorado has become a yearly ritual for local cannabis consumers and canna-friendly tourists. And we love it.

Tips to help you make the most of the cannabis holiday.

Denver is ground-zero for our favorite cannabis-themed holiday. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of it.

TIP #1

Despite appearances, it’s still not legal to consume cannabis in public. We recommend that you stay true to the underground spirit of 420 and consume discreetly and with caution. Denver will be packed with elevated revelers—and law enforcement. It’s always best to stay on the right side of the law.

TIP #2

The only thing cannabis shares in common with alcohol (aside from its past prohibition), is the legal age to consume. You must be at least 21 years of age. Don’t leave home without your identification, and if you’re not of legal age, do us all a favor and don’t consume—until you’re legal.

TIP #3

There are a ton of events happening throughout the 420 weekend. We suggest that you create a strategy to hit as many events as you can. Another reason to strategize for the holiday weekend? Transportation. DO NOT CONSUME AND DRIVE. Plan properly and use a rideshare or designated driver. We want you to be safe, and we want everyone else on the road to be safe, too. Don’t be the one to make cannabis consumers look bad—just don’t.

TIP #4

Cannabis moves quickly through the bloodstream, as does alcohol. Consuming both simultaneously makes it difficult for you (and your body) to regulate consumption levels. It’s best to stick to one or the other.

TIP #5

420 is a marathon, not a sprint. As we’ve said time, and time again, start low and go slow. We typically use this phrase in reference to edibles, but for the sake of having an enjoyable 420 holiday, it’s a good mantra to use throughout the weekend. Pace yourself, it’s that simple.

A few of our favorite 420 events this year in Colorado.

Not sure what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered. The Lightshade team has hand-selected a few events to help you build out a roadmap to 420. Of course, we’d suggest that you start your weekend with a visit to one of our eight Colorado dispensaries. We have some amazing specials in store for local and visitor, alike.

Snoop Dogg & Ice Cube at Red Rocks

This isn’t technically on 4/20, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to kick-off the holiday than seeing Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube live at Red Rocks. The two take the stage together on Thursday, April 18th, at 7pm. Just remember, it’s not legal to consume in public (as we said above)—plan accordingly.

The Mile High 4.20K

Celebrate the official start of 4/20 with an elevated run surrounded by hundreds of like-minded fans of cannabis and fitness. The Mile High 4.20K starts at 8 am at Sloan’s Lake Park. The event is designed to raise awareness of how cannabis consumption can be an integral part of promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Mile High 420 Festival

We’d be remiss not to mention the classic Denver 420 event: The Mile High 420 Festival. Held each year at Civic Center Park, the Mile High 420 Festival draws cannabis-consumers and advocates from across the globe. This year the event organizers aim to reimagine what the holiday represents, to fight the longstanding stigma that surrounds cannabis while celebrating our healthy (and growing) local cannabis industry. Celebrate our favorite plant with over 50,000 like-minded revelers.

Secret Stash Yoga: Sunday Gentle Flow

Start 420 Sunday (ok, technically it’s 4/21) on your mat with Secret Stash Yoga: Sunday Gentle Flow. Secret Stash Yoga wants to enhance your yoga experience in an environment that encourages relaxation, spiritual awareness, bliss and inner self-reflection—a perfect entry into the final day of the 420 holiday.

420 is a time for us to join together as a community and celebrate the past, present, and future of our favorite plant (and the industry). Be safe, be smart, and most importantly—let’s show the rest of the nation that Colorado cannabis consumers (and tourists) are happy, healthy, and working to tear down the misconceptions that have far too long, plagued this beautiful plant.

Beat the lines at Lightshade locations this week by placing your pre-order online for faster pickup!

Do you have your own tips for how to best enjoy 420? We’d love to hear them, reach out or leave a comment below.

  • Share your tips for a great 4/20.