It’s been two years since local tokers and visiting stoners were able to gather on 420, the international marijuana holiday. Denver’s celebration began as a protest to repeal the prohibition on pot; in the years since legalization, it’s become a major event in the heart of the city.
So, without much more to advocate for, the annual festivities at Civic Center Park are more centered around good vibes and funky fashion. Here are the looks and humans we saw in a few hours amidst the haze.
“I’m about to get high as a mother,” Jasmine Steele said, stoked about more than smoking. “It means something to me. I’m free. I can be who I want to be this day. I’m celebrating myself.”
Hillary Alkire also felt this celebration represents something more than the act of burning one down: “We live here, so we stay smoking. Everybody comes together. It’s nice not to feel judgement.”
Even though recreational marijuana has been legal for years, Persephone Stevens said she was still celebrating the end of the prohibition.
“When I started smoking it in Boulder, I went to a Hawaiian church,” she remembered. “I got by on a religious exemption.”
Seeing people gathered in Denver – even though it’s technically illegal to smoke in public – still floors her.
Noah “Lil’ Apsy” Hubler, the “number one autistic rapper in the western U.S.,” said the celebration represented a kind of hope in humanity: “Without weed, man, the world would be a darker place. It has this element of tranquility to it.”
“Yeah, I smoke pounds of the kush,” he added.
Tweet Williams, who was toting around multiple two-foot joints, was also excited: “I love being high with random strangers. That sounds weird, but I love it!”
A lot of regulars said it was just nice to be back after two years on COVID hiatus.
“It definitely feels very different. It feels like we’re back to normal,” Zexel Nightshade said in a moment of reflection. “I’m so taken aback by what’s happening right now, and I’m for it.”
Josh Amann was just glad tickets didn’t cost him a dime: “It’s free! You can’t beat that with a stick!”
And though Brandon Collins said his habits didn’t quite change because of the hallowed date, he was glad everyone came out: “This is just a normal day, except I get to see people who smoke weed, too!”