April 20 needs a makeover.
So, yeah, April 20 needs rehab, and weed is the one thing the date has going for it.
What would a national cannabis holiday look like?
Funny you should ask, because I've been thinking about that a lot as we enter the first year when Portland's weed is, if not technically legal, not really illegal, either. No one's likely to stop you from smoking weed in a Portland city park this 4/20—and maybe you should take advantage, since even smoking cigarettes or cigars in a park will be illegal as of July 1.
If you're looking for a formal gathering this 4/20, see the events listings here. If you really want a fresh and classy experience, there are now weedery tours and OMMP spas. If you don't have a medical card, you can already buy legal weed just across the river, at one of the dispensaries reviewed here. If you need some help picking the right product, check out this selection of throwback strains. Be careful not to overdo it, lest you end up like the poor bastard we asked to take 100 milligrams of THC. Also, if you need a reminder that just because it's legal doesn't mean we're done using marijuana as an agent of positive change, check out an opinion piece about Dab Girls.
And if you've already got a good stash and a few friends to smoke with? Well, here are my ideas for what makes a great 4/20 party.
Gather to partake
Despite a bevy of urban legends swirling around the date's origins, as far as I'm concerned the 4:20/cannabis association began with a small band of Marin County high schoolers who coordinated their afterschool smoke breaks for that time. Anyone who's anyone will tell you the best part of toking is toking with others, which these kids knew a long time ago. This 4/20, get together and pass the pipe.
Go to green
You want your grass on the grass, dude. Forest Park or Mount Tabor or the Columbia River Gorge or Hoyt Arboretum. Breathe deep and put one foot in front of the other. If there's water by where it's green, that's better! Remember: Next April, park rangers can hassle you if they spot hazy clouds drifting upward off your park bench.
Eat some tacos
There's really only one food that's appropriate for handling your munchies on 4/20, and that's tacos. I'm talking about tacos in any form: Taco Bell, Original Taco House, Taco Time (not recommended), Por Que No or the homemade ditties with Bearitos seasoning packs and loosely chopped iceberg. I'm also talking breakfast tacos. Tacos all day, friends!
Adopt the appropriate dress and custom
The world doesn't need another dress-up holiday, but I really like the idea of decking oneself discreetly in seven-pointed leaves as a subtle reminder of the plant's long, dark days underground.
Make like Johnny Appleseed
It's spring, and therefore an ideal time for preparing a space for new plant life. Doesn't have to be a cannabis plant! Just a little somethin' to usher back the green, you know? (But you should consider that you can order pot seeds online for discreet delivery and that possessing four of those plants will be legal in July, just about the time they get tall enough for anyone to notice.)
Listen to the music
Maybe it's Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels" or Danny Brown's "Kush Coma" or one of Phish's especially lengthy jams. Whatever you're smoking, get music on.
Solemn remembrance at 4:20 on 4/20
Oregon was sheltered from the brunt of the conflict, but the war on cannabis that raged for the last 100 years had a real toll. Families were shattered. Countless men and women have been imprisoned or killed in the U.S., Mexico and around the world in a misguided attempt to eliminate a mildly psychoactive herb that was grown in the gardens of our Founding Fathers. The toll was real and sad, and the war still wages. Before you pass that herb, take a moment to remember those who couldn't be with us on this very special day.