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Sunday, March 3, 2024

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CulturePuffPuff: Still coming down from a great 420

Puff: Still coming down from a great 420

Cannabis is growing in the nation's consciousness, and the business is asking for help to reach the next stage

I had a fabulous 420. I scored some wonderful Jupiter Jack by Seven Leaves and saw Marga Gomez perform her 420 comedy show. I managed to keep a nice stoney high going all day.

As I flipped through social media that day, I saw a local taco shop was offering 420 specials—and there was also fast food giant Jack In Their Box with their similar, even more polished, ad campaign. Everyone was into celebrating 420, even Corporate America.

I cast my net further and looked out on the web for more 420 shenanigans. Of course here in San Francisco lots of people smoked out in Golden Gate Park at Hippie Hollow and BeMore Blunt hosted a late night 2023 Bud Drop party with DJs and lots of sponsors. 

But the day just seems to be getting bigger in the national consciousness. 420 Day is listed on the National Calendar Day website as “Every year on April 20th, cannabis producers, consumers, advocates, and those who are just curious have long celebrated 420 Day. Once an unconventional day, the day has become the rallying cry of those who seek to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational uses.”

I just read about the (much debated) history of 420 in Time Magazine, for weed’s sake! For those of you not in the know, “420” is a shortened code for “4:20pm” which is a shortened version of “Louis at 4:20pm” which was code to a group of friends who met at a statue of famed chemist Louis Pasteur near the campus to smoke weed in Marin County, California in 1971. Eventually, one of those guys ended up working on the crew of a Grateful Dead tour and the term “420” caught on through them.

These days it means lots of cannabis sales and demos for the consumer.

I kept looking. The Fort Worth Star Telegram and Houston Chronicle ran 420 stories in a state that does not have legal weed.

The Chicago Tribune ran a photo essay on the big day 

The Drum even reports on the top six cannabis campaigns for 420, including an ad campaign for Bic Lighters featuring Snoop Dog, Martha Stewart, and Willie Nelson. 

There are celebrations across the nation celebrating cannabis and all its in-jokes. 

When I was young growing up in Texas there was Cheech and Chong and that was about it. But as I grew up cannabis humor became more and more prevalent in movies such as 9 to 5, the Friday the 13th movies, Zapped and tons of like-minded sex comedies. Then came even more explicit pot movies like Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Friday, How High?, and Pineapple Express to just name a few.

I almost never went to a party growing up where weed was not prevalent. It was the thing you did.

Fast forward through medicinal to recreational and the present day, and weed and 420 is everywhere.

The reason I bring all this up is if cannabis is accepted in 420 pop culture and Corporate America, then why can’t the federal and state governments get their act together to help out the struggling industry? 

Why can’t the federal government pass legislation to allow dispensaries to be able to operate a bank account like a normal business and also allow states who do have legal cannabis to trade with each other? 

Why can’t the state governments ease up on taxing and licensing fees to give that state’s cannabis businesses a chance to take hold and grow roots? 

Why do smoking lounges have to close by 10pm, will stoners go on uncontrolled eating rampages if they stay out after that?

The industry is not in good shape and is hoping for some relief from the Biden administration.

Helping out on a federal level would good business sense, and cannabis revenues have endless possibilities, but governments keep fumbling the ball (Hello New York!). This is the giant green stoned elephant sitting in America’s living room.

Let your representatives in Congress know that it’s about time this country gives the cannabis industry the attention and respect it’s due. Working together, we can build something terrific. Sadly, it may not always work out that way. (I’m looking at you Oklahoma.) But the proof is in the 420 pudding, which I must say is tasty and terpy.

Next week, I am off to beautiful Santa Rosa for Hall of Flowers, where I will see all the new cannabis products coming down the line to a dispensary near you. I will make sure you get a sneak peek of all the coolest stuff.

Until then, it’s time to light up!

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Dan Karkoska
Dan Karkoska
Dan Karkoska is an independent producer, promoter, film critic, and DJ on the San Francisco scene. He also works with Maria Konner at Under the Golden Gate and is currently producing and hosting PUFF, the first queer marijuana rock-and-roll drag party every first Thursday at The Stud. He is a big stoner. Photo by Sari Staver.

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