By: Nabil Rodriguez, Associate
A year ago today, we experienced
Carl’s Jr.’s CBD burger and witnessed many other cannabis-themed events. This year, waking up on 4/20 feels like we, as a community, are in some sort of alternate reality. This was supposed to be the 4/20-est of 4/20s. As any enthusiast could tell you, at 4:20 (a.m. or p.m.) on 4/20/2020 there are 4-20s (i.e. 4: 20, on 4/ 20/ 2020 = 4-20s). Unfortunately, in person events across the country have either been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19.
Quick: why do we celebrate 4/20 in the first place? History is a bit hazy on this one, and theories range from teatime in Holland to police code to Bob Dylan’s “Everybody must get stoned” chorus from “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35” (12×35 = 420). The real reason, though, dates back to 1971 and five teens who met daily at 4:20 p.m. to smoke pot, nicknamed the “Waldos” because they would meet behind a wall on campus. Reminding each other in the school hallways to meet, “4:20” became their secret catchphrase, and through an auspicious connection to the Grateful Dead, the term eventually
proliferated through the stoner community.
Over time, April 20 became the industry’s unofficial holiday where crowds gathered, joints were shared and people danced and hugged. With today’s requirements for social distancing, how can our community still honor its roots on this day while keeping each other safe? Here are a few tips to socialize distantly with you industry friends.
Puff, Puff, (DON’T) Pass; Sharing is not caring!
The phrase “puff, puff, pass” has been connected to social cannabis consumption since the beginning. Remember the basement scenes in “That 70s Show?” During these times, however, sharing is not caring and one aspect of smoke sessions that often goes undiscussed is the potential exchange of germs, viruses or bacteria that comes with sharing a bong or passing a joint.
Denver – 4/20 Event 2010. Photo Courtesy Denver Post.
In a study conducted by Moose Labs, a California-based cannabis accessory company, they were able to quantify the amount of germs present in a shared cannabis bong, pipe, joint, or even vape pen. In a statement by co-founder Jay Rush, the research found, “
[t]he average gas station toilet seat was about 900 bacteria per square inch, whereas the average bong was 3,000 bacteria per square inch.” Even during normal times, that’s gross.
While communal cannabis consumption is a no-go this year, many will try a virtual “session” with friends or family. Rapper Wiz Khalifa recently hosted a “Kush Up Challenge” live via Instagram to “smoke up” with his friends and fans. Taking advantage of technology to celebrate as a community, while maintaining physical social distance, allows cannabis consumers to participate in the social aspects of a smoke session without subjecting themselves to increased risks.
Plus, there’s no shortage of virtual activities throughout the day. The Doobie Room is hosting an
Instagram Live wake and bake session at 11 a.m. CT today. For every person who participates, the Chicago-based cannabis company will donate $4.20 to COVID-19 relief efforts. Later, cannabis industry mogul Tony Diepenbrock hopes to break a world record by getting 1,000 people to smoke on a Zoom video call together. Click here for more things to do online…
Like every other industry, the cannabis community will need to adapt to this new normal. Throwing it back to 1971 and the Waldos, this year, remember where we came from. 4:20 wasn’t about festivals or park takeovers, it was about knowing that you weren’t alone. So even in this era of social distancing, we are in this together distantly socializing.
From your cannattorneys here at Greenspoon Marder, happy 4/20!
Stay safe, and stay healthy.