Yesterday, a tiny Northern California city called Weed hosted its fourth annual festival to celebrate 4/20, the official cannabis holiday.
The event was held by La Florista Cannabis dispensary, which just happens to be the only weed shop in Weed. Organizers shut down a block of the city's Main St. for a blowout featuring bands, a DJ, a taco truck, and – you guessed it – legal cannabis. The dispensary offered special “swag bags” for customers, plus promos on flower, pre-rolls, vape carts, edibles, and pretty much every other product they sell.
With all the hype surrounding California's fabled cannabis industry, one might speculate that the town of Weed might have adopted this name just to cash in. But the town's unique name actually comes from its founder, a pioneer named Abner Weed. In 1897, Weed bought a 280-acre lumber mill in the area that eventually became the current City of Weed.
Weed was initially quite reluctant to embrace its cannabis namesake. Residents and elected officials initially resisted attempts to capitalize on the town's potential for pot tourism but did agree to allow La Florista to open in 2018. Since then, Weed has slowly been warming up to weed. Last January, the city council voted to impose a 3% local cannabis sales tax, which city officials predicted would bring them about $100,000 a year.
California continues to prohibit public cannabis consumption, so getting high on the streets of Weed is still technically illegal. Fortunately, city officials granted La Florista a license to open a consumption lounge where guests could rent bongs or vapes and play pool, Jenga, air hockey, or video games. Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs were prohibited in the lounge, as required by state law.
Jackie Jones, inventory manager at La Florista, told the Redding Record Searchlight that guests are welcome to light up joints in the lounge, or “they can rent a bong, which we clean after every use.” Guests could also rent a Puffco, which Jones described as “an electronic rig that... turns on at a perfect heat. You can drop the little concentrate into the bowl and then it vaporizes and you smoke it. It's so nice, yes sir."
And most importantly, Jones said that guests won't “have to feel any discomfort of anybody like telling them, 'No, you can't smoke' or anything like that."
This is the fourth year in a row that La Florista has hosted its annual 4/20 festival, and last year's event drew around 500 people. Organizers expect that even more people turned up this year now that pandemic restrictions are even more relaxed.
But as sunny as Weed's 4/20 is going to be, celebrating this very same holiday in a state like Nebraska or Kentucky can still land you in jail. Advocacy groups reminded weed lovers to remember that the fight for full federal and state cannabis legalization is far from over.
“While we have undoubtedly made immense progress in recent years, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens are still arrested each year for simple possession of a plant,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement. “That is why we are calling on all Americans to take time out of their day on 4/20 to help us finish the fight, both at the federal level and in those states that still are living under the dark ages of prohibition. We have an overwhelming mandate from the people and we intend to make sure that elected officials abide by it."