If you’re not aware of the derivation, “420” is a code created in 1971 by a group of California high schoolers (the “Waldos”) who would meet at 4:20 p.m. to smoke and to search for a purportedly hidden stash of cannabis near the seashore. Over subsequent years, this turned into the national, and then international, April 20th cannabis celebration day — and 2022 did enthusiasts proud.
Arguably the largest event was Denver’s Mile High 420 Festival, held downtown at Civic Center with its usual lineup of top hip-hop artists performing for free. This year’s slate featured Big Boi, Lil Jon, and Talib Kweli. There was also the 420 On The Rocks event at Red Rocks featuring Method Man and Redman.
Right in the middle of Washington D.C., the National Cannabis Festival was held on the lawn of the Robert F. Kennedy Festival Grounds. This two-day event featured performances by Wiz Khalifa, Lettuce, and Ghostface Killah.
San Francisco’s annual 4/20 On Hippie Hill celebration drew a huge crowd, with onsite cannabis sales allowed for the first time in the event’s history. It featured rapper Berner, comedians Jeff Ross and Hannibal Buress, and boxing legend/cannabis mogul Mike Tyson. (Tyson also appeared on Saturday the 23rd at Lansing, Michigan’s 420 Music Festival, where he was able to promote his cannabis products to a large college audience.)
Another big name in cannabis and hip-hop chose his 420 appearance to be in a college town. Snoop Dogg joined up with outlaw country star Koe Wetzel to appear at the 420 Special in Lincoln, Nebraska, the state capital and home of the University of Nebraska.
Other big 420 events included Spleef Speakeasy in New York City. The Roll Up in Northampton, Massachusetts. 4/20 Block Party in Missoula, Montana. Waldos Forever Fest in Chicago. Plus internationally at Spannabis in Barcelona. The Bright Side Festival in Jamaica. 420 Toronto. And 420 Hyde Park in the heart of London.
Unfortunately this year, revelers in Albuquerque had to cancel their plans — a bummer as recreational sales had begun statewide on April 1st. The organizers of the 420 Fest had to call things off when the Albuquerque Police Department suddenly declined to allow barricades being set up for the event, claiming they did not have the manpower to shut down a downtown street for hours on a workday. Some of the vendors, food sellers and artists were able to move into a private downtown space at the last minute, but organizers certainly hope that next year’s event won’t also go up in smoke.