How the 420 Holiday in Colorado has Evolved Over Time

Blog by Nick Bollard ~ April 8th, 2016 

SONY DSCThe international cannabis 420 holiday is quickly approaching. Look almost anywhere in Colorado on Wednesday, April 20th and you will see an array of college students, young professionals, old professionals, wealthy folks, poor folks, hikers, climbers, Frisbee golfers, traditional golfers, parents, teachers—basically everybody—participating in the celebration of the holiday that champions marijuana use. To tell if a person is celebrating or not, look for their telltale grin. The historical journey of getting to this moment of popular acceptance and acquired civil liberties was painful and arduous. Let us not forget that there are still non-violent offenders of marijuana laws that will remain locked up this holiday while the rest of us celebrate legally, responsibly, and without fear of incarceration.

It wasn’t that long ago when CU students illegally lit up on campus fields and other school property until the University began its strategy of effectively shutting down 420 celebrations on school grounds. One year, the sprinkler system was engaged in hopes that it would soil the hundreds of lit joints and hands exchanging cannabis flowers in the open. The students simply sat on the sprinkler heads, and giggled, while they continued to indulge. It has been said that during this time, in the mid 2000s, students would fill hollow plastic Easter eggs with buds and then throw them into crowds as brightly colored, uniquely packaged gifts. At the height of the popularity of the celebration on CU’s campus, there were 10,000 people smoking together. Eventually, the University tried a tactic a little shrewder than its sprinkler attempt and covered its field, Norlin Quad, with a fertilizer that smelled like fish guts to deter the unwanted public gathering. Students now celebrate in places other than the University’s property.

In lieu of the fact that the legendary High Times Cannabis Cup has been moved after being refused a license in its original choice of location and is now at the 1st Bank Center, it feels safe to say that 420 is changing. This year’s Cannabis Cup will not include an exposition nor will it include an area for adult-use. Essentially, it has evolved into a concert and awards show. There has been a big stink made by the younger demographic of the cannabis community over these choices; but, let’s not forget how far we’ve come and where we are going.

Eventually, the United States will allow smoke shops like the famous Amsterdam cafes. Having said this, it does not seem likely that 420 will become a pop culture day-long shit show like the comparable drinking holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. Why? Because the majority of marijuana consumers do not want to get so intoxicated that they lose themselves in their stupor. Rather, we want to participate in culture and nature. We will be smoking a joint before watching a classic film, or reading poetry, or hiking a trail, or riding a bicycle, or going to a museum. Even when there are smoke shops, stoners will not degenerate into rats that never leave the establishment. So, yes, things are changing now and they will change in the future—the legal industry is still in its infancy. There are many business models and best practices that still need to be established. Until then, there’s a lot to smile about. After all, we aren’t rotting away in a cell on a third strike policy for possessing a joint. The evolution of traditions is a good thing, so long as the changes are sensible.

The fact that some longstanding traditions are changing does not mean that there is nothing to do on 420! There are several new, exciting happenings this year. The Cannabist posted a list of “420-friendly events“.

For our 2016 celebration, The Farm has several fun holiday specials, live art, and other exciting happenings beginning on Friday, 4/15 through 4/20, at our clock tower store in Boulder.


Last year, we hired the talented artist, Josh Audiss, to paint a personification of our Farm Signature strain Alpha Blue. This year he will be painting our Farm Signature strain Tangerine Haze, beginning on Friday, 4/15 through Sunday 4/17. Stop by to check out his work and see how he personifies this popular Sativa.

We are also hosting a Conscious Alliance food drive. Guests can bring in 20 cans of food or $30, all of which will be donated to the food drive. In exchange for the donation, guests will receive a limited edition poster customized for our holiday celebration. The food drive will begin Friday, 4/15 and will continue through Wednesday 4/20 or while supplies last.

The Sanchos Mexican food cart will be at The Farm on Wednesday, 4/20, to provide its authentic fare beginning at 12:30 through 2:30.

Grab yer partner and swing on by The Farm for some good old-fashioned, down-home 420 celebratin’!


We have several great specials during our 420 extravaganza:

  • Alpha Blue Gift Bag for $60 | $95 value | 4/15 – 4/20 or as supplies last. Gift bag includes: ⅛ Alpha Blue, Alpha Blue t-shirt, Farm cow pipe, Farm lighter
  • Spend $100, get a hoodie for $25 | 4/15 – 4/20
  • 25% off all glass products | 4/15 – 4/20
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