DENVER — Caroline Spahr has been planning for the holiday all week. She’s stocked up on the traditional foods, sent out the relevant invitations and planned ahead for transportation.
“If it’s nice out, I have a new croquet set. If it rains, I’m thinking maybe an ‘Archer’ marathon,” Spahr said.
It’s an annual rite of spring that is particularly special this year: 4/20 comes on Saturday.
“I’m baking my grandma’s lemon square recipe and Jake and Azure are going to bring their guitars over,” Spahr said as she hung her people’s customary decorations of Grateful Dead tapestries and strings of beads shaped like green, five-lobed leaves. “Crunchy goodness. And the best part is it’s a weekend! No being torn over the wake-and-bake, no split decision about either showing up at work with red eyes or ‘calling in sick’ when you obviously mean ‘calling in stoned.’ Plus, more Settlers of Catan.”
April 20, or 4/20, is marked by marijuana enthusiasts worldwide as an annual smoke-out day. One might say it’s the high point of their year. In the U.S., pot advocates use the occasion for weed-based protests aimed at encouraging legal reform, which surveys suggest the majority of Americans now support.
Organized outdoor smoking is typically seen at locations including San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, and this year Colorado and Washington, which in November passed measures legalizing recreational pot use, are expecting tens of thousands of tourists – and their wallets – to get good and baked, dude.
“Here’s the thing about potheads,” said Dr. Jeremy Rosenthal, a psychiatrist and professor of social behaviors at the University of Colorado-Boulder, as he packed an 18-inch glass bong with a fine indoor sativa strain known as Blue Dream, “they don’t give a shit about your ‘week.’ More than 50,000 people a year die from alcohol poisoning and it’s all but impossible to overdose on weed, so why the hell should a pot smoker care what day of the week it is when they want to get, like, obliterated stoned? You ever see a pothead start a bar fight because his team lost the big game? No, you haven’t. Does alcohol help sick people eat or deal with pain? No, it doesn’t. Sticky-icky like this only goes great with days that end in Y.”
Rosenthal filled the bong with smoke and cleared it into his lungs with a giant, bubbling pull. “Yep,” he said quietly, holding his breath. The book-lined faculty office grew hazy and for a moment the only sound was an old Weezer song playing from a laptop.
“It is nice that it falls on a Saturday though, I’m not gonna lie,” Rosenthal said after exhaling. “My wife and I are gonna go hiking and have a picnic. Fear not: that cloud you see is not a forest fire. Mmm, good dope.”