April 20 is a special day for pot smokers. Although not an official holiday, smokers have celebrated 4/20 for years before legalization.
Origins of the term began in 1971 in San Rafael, California. According to Time and Oxford Languages, the term 420 was a code word by students at San Rafael High School who would meet at 4:20 p.m. to light up by a statue of chemist Louis Pasteur. One of the students, Dave Reddix, became a roadie for the Grateful Dead who helped to make the term popular. In 1991, High Times magazine printed a flyer made by Deadheads in Oakland who asked people to smoke pot at 4:20 p.m. on April 20. Since then, the term 420 became globally recognized as another way of saying “spark it.”
In the past, Albuquerque has seen a number of 420 events, including ones at Johnson Field, Roosevelt Park and the Hiland Theater. On many occasions those events were broken up by police or fire marshals who would cite and even arrest people for smoking or possessing marijuana. Now that recreational pot is legal in New Mexico, the paranoia of going to jail for possession has diminished, but hosting 420 events is still a challenge. A planned 420Fest in downtown Albuquerque was recently denied permits because police say they cannot block daytime traffic during the work week and block off roads at night due to bar traffic.
Thousands are expected to attend the event anyway, but they still can’t legally smoke in public because of local laws and ordinances. Despite the many roadblocks to legalization and growing acceptance 420 observances, there will still be some special discounts at dispensaries and gatherings around the ABQ.
At the Urban Wellness dispensary on Paseo Del Norte and Wyoming, there will be discounts for both recreational and medical marijuana customers. Recreational customers will get a half gram of Mountain Caviar for a penny if they buy two half grams. For the Mountain Caviar, customers will have the option of getting indica, sativa or a hybrid strain. Medical patients will receive a “mix and match” option of 3 1/2 grams at a discounted price.
At the Ultra Health Dispensary, also near Paseo and Wyoming, there are no planned events or specials, but one worker said they do have “flash sales” that happen at quick notice. Customers are notified via text messages or email prior to the sales, usually in the early morning. Further south, at Seven Clover on Juan Tabo, a worker said there are no planned specials, but that could also change the day of 4/20. “We’ll be informed before we even open what kind of specials [we have], and the bud board should be up to date by then,” he said.
Bluez Edi’z, a medical marijuana business that specializes in edibles, events and mobile services for some customers will partake in multiple events around Albuquerque. Two of the events are free, and one at The Jam Spot on Central, where 4/20Fest participants were redirected to on Facebook, will cost $5 to get in. (See the attached flyer for more information on another event Bluez Edi’z will be available at. )