The recent legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington has made the celebration of 4/20 – a marijuana user’s code for weed – quite a popular spectacle. This past weekend, thousands of marijuana enthusiasts gathered in the two states at concerts, rallies, and trade shows in the inaugural states to make Cannabis use a little friendlier.
Just this past January, the first retail pot shop opened in Colorado, helping to explode an industry in Denver (even lowering crime rates). On April 20, 2014, a surge of tourists descended on Denver to join in on festivities. Denver hotels experienced a 73% increase in business from the same time last year.
The Cannabis Cup, a trade show sponsored by High Times magazine, drew sold-out crowds over the weekend at a Denver convention venue.
The operations director at the Denver pot shop 3D Cannabis Center, Christie Lunsford, has seen customers arriving from all over the world to use cannabis – not just from nearby states without legalization laws.
“People are coming nationally from all over the U.S. but I’m also seeing a lot of international guests as well,” Lunsford said. “They’re all coming here because cannabis is legal in Colorado and they’re all excited to be here.”
One gathering deemed by organizers as the ‘world’s largest 4/20 rally’ in Denver’s Civic Center Park was packed. With all those people there, it was still a civil event. A spokesperson for the Denver police said that police issued 32 citations, 22 of which were for public consumption (it is still illegal to smoke weed in public places). Five people were taken to detox centers and two required medical attention for an unspecified reason.
The spokesperson said that police were not looking to arrest violators, but were only citing people who were openly defying public consumption ban. City officials also posted signs around the parks and other rally locations reminding people of the public consumption ban.
There was also beefed up security on hand, but surely after state agencies and businesses crunch the numbers from tourism and pot sales from this singular weekend so soon after marijuana legalization, the city will be more than willing to host future events, and possibly even lift the ban on public consumption. After all, alcohol is regularly imbibed in public places.
Washington State experienced similar boosts in their tourism and pot sales. One rally called Overgown the Government called the event a huge success.
Even Canada had their own 4/20 rallies to protest the prohibition of Cannabis. At this rate, national pot day might turn into a bi-annual or even monthly celebration. Now, its time to get hemp use in on the party.