I arrived in Santa Monica bright and early on Saturday for The 420 Games, an athletic experience unlike anything I've ever experienced before.
I found parking among the bustling shops and busy Saturday streets, I walked to the edge of the bluffs and looked down at the busy beach and pier.
I saw a mass of tents and people lining up for the event and got really excited - people of Los Angeles were in for a treat as hundreds of cannabis enthusiasts started gearing up for a spirited run along the Santa Monica - Venice boardwalk.
Along the 4.2 mile (get it?) course were thousands of active cannabis supporters, all working to complete the race in their own way. There were longboards, beach cruisers, and rollerblades alongside families walking and pushing strollers. There were elite runners competing for the top 10 finish, and casual joggers just proud to finish and be a part of something like this.
Along the course, something amazing happened.
As all participants were wearing bibs with the number “420,” innocent passersby on the boardwalk eventually began to take notice. Many smiled, laughed and pointed us out to their friends, a few actually cheered and offered encouragement or a hand slap, while others literally stopped me in my tracks to figure out precisely what was going on. The overall consensus was that this was an awesome event that more people wanted to get involved with next time to show their support for the cannabis community.
Back in the festival area, dozens of well-known cannabis industry groups and companies were in attendance to educate the public about their products and services.
There was live music and guided yoga from the stage, O.PenVape was providing quick chair massages, and Lagunitas had four of their most popular beer varieties for runners to sample as a victory toast.
If you didn’t know, right after a workout is actually when beer is at its best for your body. The rich ingredients help to rehydrate the body and replenish some protein, B-vitamins and carbohydrates after expending energy.
Health and wellness were definitely the primary focus of the event, with many healthy edible brands giving away non-medicated samples of their products, and other cannabis companies taking a more holistic angle.
Eaze, for example, took some time off from advertising their delivery service to film a video campaign on medical marijuana patients. Many attendees stopped at their booth to tell their own unique story of how #MarijuanaHelps their health.
Team MERRY JANE had a booth, too.
I finished the “race” in a cool 50 minutes, having stopped to walk, talk, and grab water along the way. The best part of the event was the sheer lack of judgment - though all participants were at different levels in terms of athleticism, there were infinite high-fives and words of encouragement passed around at the event. It was such a great feeling having people notice our community and how hard we were all working, how much fun we were having out there.
For more information about The 420 Games and how you can get involved next time, visit their website and keep tabs on Facebook. They’ve already scheduled several more events for this year, in the Bay Area, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon!