The marijuana holiday 4/20 is going to be a little different this year as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, prompting orders to avoid public gatherings and take social distancing measures.
But that doesn’t mean the celebration can’t go on. A host of organizations have announced that they’ll host virtual events where individuals can listen to live musical performances and hear about reform plans from lawmakers while consuming cannabis from the safety of their own homes.
For example, NORML said on Wednesday that it is encouraging supporters to participate in one of the “many online virtual 4/20 celebrations taking place throughout the day,” which will be listed on the group’s website.
The organization also cautioned against unsanctioned public gatherings and reminded people that it’s advisable to avoid combustable marijuana, as COVID-19 targets the respiratory system.
“Americans’ health and welfare must be a priority during these uncertain times,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “In the best interest of public health and safety, NORML encourages cannabis consumers not to congregate either outdoors or indoors in groups this 4/20.”
Stay Home This 4/20 https://t.co/HKRU9qv89u
— NORML (@NORML) April 15, 2020
Weedmaps is throwing a virtual party to mark the holiday. Rapper Wiz Khalifa and country music artist Billy Ray Cyrus, among other performers, will put on a show online. Comedians and DJs will also do sets.
420 is better together, so we're throwing the biggest virtual 420 celebration ever. Kick back, relax, and enjoy performances, prizes and more on April 20th 2020 from 12 PM to 5 PM PST.
— Weedmaps (@weedmaps) April 14, 2020
“For more than 12 years, Weedmaps has connected millions of consumers with retailers and brands, while advocating for accessible cannabis for all,” Weedmaps CMO Juanjo Feijoo said. “4/20 has not only become a celebration for cannabis enthusiasts around the world, but culturally, it has also served as a reminder for how far we’ve come since the days of prohibition and the continued work that is ahead.”
“We’re excited to partner with some of the best in music and entertainment to celebrate the plant and the culture with our community,” he said.
The Drug Policy Alliance, Americans for Safe Access and several other cannabis groups are taking the opportunity to not only provide some remote entertainment on 4/20—with an online concert headlined by singer and activist Melissa Etheridge—but also host educational sessions to talk about the work ahead to end federal marijuana prohibition.
We’re days away from the HighStream 4/20 Festival! Celebrate 4/20 with us AND help make federal marijuana legalization a reality with the MORE Act. Join us on Instagram (@DrugPolicyAlliance) for our giveaway! See you on 4/20! Register now: https://t.co/dZ45SlTYBH pic.twitter.com/3RVatAiYdH
— Drug Policy Alliance (@DrugPolicyOrg) April 15, 2020
The marijuana company LivWell is putting a charitable spin on their virtual 4/20 event, which will feature entertainers like comedian Doug Benson and actor Andy Juett. Musical performances from artists including The Disco Biscuits, Thievery Corporation, Trey Anastasio Band and DJ Logic will also be streamed. All donations made from the event will go toward relief funds for the coronavirus pandemic.
“420 is a celebration we look forward to every year, and although the landscape has changed due to COVID-19, we wanted to bring something to our local community that not only offers positivity in this trying time but also gives back to the many professionals in our area whose livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic,” Michael Lord, senior vice president of business development at LivWell, said.
Across the pond in London, activists said the tradition of congregating at Hyde Park for 4/20 will not happen this year—but a virtual event will take its place.
The High Club (THC), Volteface and London Canna Group are hosting the livestream celebration, which will feature speeches by reform-minded politicians from across the ideological spectrum as well as musical performances.
— Volteface (@VoltefaceHub) April 15, 2020
“This year’s annual 420 Hyde Park rally in London is going online. We are broadcasting a digital version of this year’s programme to the thousands who usually turn up to the live event,” Marwan Elgamal, the lead organizers of the event, said. “Our aim is to continue to give the cannabis movement a platform to campaign on and spark online activism.”
There’s no word yet on whether the annual celebration at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco will go virtual, but the city’s mayor made clear on Tuesday that gathering at the park will not be tolerated.
To be clear: 4/20 will not be tolerated this year.
Do not come to San Francisco to celebrate. We will cite people. We will arrest people if necessary.
Order food. Watch Netflix. Stay home and stay safe. pic.twitter.com/4w2T9XJrej
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) April 13, 2020
“We will not allow this unsanctioned event to occur this year,” Mayor London Breed (D) said. “We will be prepared if people start to show up to make sure that it doesn’t happen. For your own health and safety, please do not come and please do not try to identify another location.”
This story has been updated to include information about additional events.
Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.