Smokers celebrate 4/20

Apr 202008
Authors: Andy Dose

“I’ve been smoking since I woke up,” a woman said with a satisfied grin at 4:20 p.m.

The woman on Laurel Street, wearing a tie-die shirt and one of those trendy new-age cowboy hats, didn’t look stoned at all, but had burned 10 bowls of marijuana with friends since she woke up Sunday morning.

Joined with local pot smokers, she celebrated the unofficial stoner holiday, 4/20, in which pot enthusiasts and novices from across the country light up, protesting the illegal status of the drug.

“At 4:20 p.m., we made it a point to be somewhere where we could smoke,” the woman said.

In recognition of April 20, Cheba Hut, a local sandwich shop, and the City of Fort Collins closed off Laurel Street east of College Avenue to hold a marijuana-themed block party, which featured live bands, a raffle give-away, merchandise tents, and discounted meal combos served in a Frisbee all day.

Crowds across Colorado gathered by the thousands to celebrate an underground holiday, which has been acultural hub for marijuana smokers for over three decades, and Fort Collins is no exception to the infamous event.

In 1971, a group of high school students who called themselves the Waldos from San Rafael High School in California started using 4:20 as a code for the time of day they would meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur to smoke marijuana.

Over time, 4/20 came to mean a multitude of different things related to marijuana use, which, in turn, led to the spread of the term from the high school into marijuana culture.

While Fort Collins doesn’t have the same purported public smoker turnout as CU-Boulder, the city’s marijuana users are still willing to utilize the day to step outside and smoke. In 2005, voters made it legal in the city of Denver for adults 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana, but marijuana is still illegal in the state of Colorado. Police can still arrest individuals for possession and use of marijuana in Colorado until state law says otherwise.

“We’re tired of hearing about Boulder,” Fort Collins Cheba Hut storeowner Marc Torres said in a phone interview. “We want to remember and celebrate (4/20) up here.”

The block saw various methods of celebration, from people drinking alcohol on Cheba Hut’s outdoor patio, to people skateboarding in front of spectators just outside the board store Sesh, located across the street from Cheba Hut.

Staff writer Andy Dose can be reached at

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