April 20—aka 4/20—has become the international day for celebrating weed. Seattle is no different, and this year there are dozens of ways to revel in the green scene.
But first a little history. How did the cannabis community decide on 4/20? Often explained as “police code for catching someone smoking weed,” it turns out this little phrase has even humbler beginnings.
It all started in 1971 with a group of high-school kids from Marin County, Calif., who called themselves the Waldos (because they would hang out near a wall adjacent to their school and get high). The group caught wind of an abandoned outdoor grow operation and agreed to meet after school—at 4:20 p.m.—to head out into the California backwoods and see if they could find it. Soon, anytime the group met for weed-related events, they would use the phrase “See you at 4:20.”
Around this time, The Grateful Dead moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Marin County, and some of those same kids ended up hanging with the band. No one can remember for sure, but it’s assumed the band and their ilk picked up on the phrase and spread it wherever they went on tour. By the early ’90s, its reputation as a cannabis colloquialism was solidified by a few mentions in High Times magazine. The rest is hempstory.
So how can you observe this High Holy Day? Well, you could just sit around and get baked at home, or you could get out and get loose with your green neighbors.
Start your 4/20 right with the people who brought you Hempfest, the world’s first “protestival.” The organizers’ annual 420 Fest is an all-day affair out in Fremont with eats, treats, DJs, and live music.
For folks who want to keep it mellow, head to the movies. SIFF is going old-school at the Egyptian Theater on Capitol Hill with a 40th-anniversary screening of the perennial cannabis classic Up in Smoke. Or enjoy an adult beverage and serious munches as Eastlake sandwich shop Mammoth hosts a screening of Half Baked for all the ’90s kids. New-school stoners can go check out Super Troopers 2, debuting Friday night at multiplexes all over the city.
Does getting high make you want to laugh? Hot Sandwich: The Toasted Sub takes the stage at Greenwood’s Pocket Theater. The comedy group will be bringing doobage-inspired sketches, but … uhh … bring your own sandwiches. The Gateway Show, the granddaddy of weed-comedy shows, commences its annual takeover of Broadway Performance Hall on Friday. The premise is simple: A few world-class comedians perform their routines, get unbelievably baked during intermission, and come back and attempt to perform their sets again. Calamity ensues. Get tickets early, because this sells out every year.
And if you love the nightlife, the club scene is hopping this year. Kicking off the evening is another bizarro installment of Cucci’s Spooky Weed at Kremwerk, featuring entertainment from some of Seattle’s weirdest and most talented drag queens. Stone Way Cafe is teaming with Hashtag to bring you the super-lit Hashtag Anniversary and 4/20 Party, a baked block party for the record books featuring sets from WesDiz, Jiggy Jerms, and Lisa Prank. There will even be a canna-bus parked right outside for all your attitude-adjustment needs. Questlove from The Roots will also be dropping a 4/20 DJ set for the good people at Eden in SoDo.
Stay safe and stay lifted!