420: Beloved holiday of the most dedicated enthusiasts, infrequent indulgers who require a formalized excuse to light up and precocious eighth-graders who probably don’t know the nuances of indica and sativa and don’t really care so long as it gets them high. For everyone else, it probably seems kind of silly. Then again, we have Talk Like a Pirate Day (it’s not a joke—it falls on September 19th) and National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day (let the countdown to November 15th commence!). 420 is elevated by comparison. The term likely originated at the Bay Area’s San Rafael High School in 1971 with the school’s potheads, nicknamed the Waldos, who made 420 the code word for their search for a secret stash reportedly near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station.
It’s also a lot better than wading through sloshed wannabe leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day. Plus, you don’t have to buy your mom a disingenuously heartfelt greeting card, unless your mom both requires more maternal validation than most and is a cannabis fanatic. (In that case, maybe you can eliminate the need for that upcoming Mother’s Day brunch and get high on her dime bag.) Here’s a guide to both the best and most ridiculous ways to celebrate 420.
1. Half Moon Festival – Thailand
Koh Phangan’s monthly Full Moon Party draws a crowd of 10,000 to 30,000 people, and it’s a DJ-heavy (expect a lot of reggae and house), lantern-filled celebration that’s proclaimed itself “the world’s best beach party.” The cooler crowd, however, tends to hit the Half Moon and Black Moon parties. The next Half Moon party takes place on April 19, and while it is a ticketed event, it's more than just a booze, buds and 'shrooms party on the beach. The twice-monthly event, which draws about 3,000 people, features professional DJs, production, full bars and a more structured jungle/beach party.
2. Infused Dinner - Various
April 20 is an ideal time to enjoy an infused dinner, and most of the top chefs are hosting culinary events. Jeepney chef Miguel Trinidad will host two 99th Floor events on 420, while the Hell Phone speakeasy in Brooklyn will feature a three-course dinner. On the west coast, Lifted & Gifted will host a three-course dinner and cannabis tasting in Los Angeles, while Cannaisseur Series chef Coreen Carroll partnered with Bloom Farms for the four-course Bloom Appétit on April 22 in Oakland. Infused dining events are taking place across the country, especially in recreational-legal states, so keep an eye out.
3. SweetWater 420 Fest – Atlanta
This music festival—basically the South’s version of Coachella, running April 21 to 23—welcomes Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Ween, Dirty Heads, Slightly Stoopid, Talib Kweli, Break Silence, San Holo and comedians like Jon Rudnitsky and Jake Nordwind, among a bunch of other acts. Likewise, for the physically ambitious, there's the 420 Fest 5K race. You should also expect to see, and drink, an undue amount of SweetWater beer. One question: What about the cannabis? Georgia has yet to legalize it, but that won’t stop anyone from celebrating the holiday.
4. Kaya Fest - Miami
Bob Marley's son Stephen was born on April 20, and this year the Grammy-winning singer plans to celebrate on April 22 with the inaugural music- and cannabis-themed Kaya Fest at Bayfront Park. The Marley Brothers will headline the event performing many of their father's classic tunes, while other acts include Lauryn Hill, Sean Paul, Wyclef Jean, Bunji Garlin and Inner Circle, among others.
Sorry Colorado, but it looks like California is taking over on the Cup front. High Times’ nationwide traveling extravaganza of all things cannabis strikes the National Orange Show from April 21 to 23 with live performances by the Wu-Tang Clan, Damian Marley, Lit, Nas, the Game and Method Man & Redman. Many cannabis products and companies will be judged and awarded, and a live chef competition will take place in the MagicalButter Edibles Village. (Colorado, of course, has countless other 420 events, including Flosstradamus back at Red Rocks.)
6. 420 Reggae Festival – San Francisco
Taking place in Daly City on April 21 to 23, this three-day music and cannabis event features artists like Magic!, Collie Buddz, Tribal Seeds and Kymani Marley, among others, and a wide range of exhibitors that include cannabis dispensaries, legal groups and educators. The Hempcon Cup will also honor competitive growers, breeders, chefs and extract artists.