There are only two types of regular pot smokers: those who smoke a little extra on 4/20, and liars.
I get it: A lot of you are grownups now and much too busy to dedicate an entire day to cannabis. Me, too. But even if you're years removed from your gravity bong days and only puffing a few times a week, indulging a little extra on the day of all haze is nothing to be ashamed of.
As a 4/20 veteran with a big-boy job for a few years now, I've learned how to appropriately ring in the holiday without being a dirtbag – and, most important, without rubbing shoulders with dirtbags. Want to celebrate 4/20 like an adult? Follow a few of these steps and you'll feel a lot less shameful Friday morning.
1. Buy beforehand
Just as stores do sales for the holidays, most dispensaries will be offering 4/20 deals before (and after) April 20, so get your shit together and buy your pot before April 20. Anyone who's been in a dispensary waiting room on Colfax or South Broadway at 5 p.m. quickly learns to return earlier next time. Just imagine how packed and sweaty they'll be on 4/20 after you get off work. Skip the lines and low inventory by being prepared.
Beat the rush by shopping the morning before 4/20.
2. Wait to open your presents
What do calling off work on 4/20 and a Peyton Manning return to the NFL have in common? They're both riddled with random drug tests. If you're worried that your boss and co-workers might think something's up if you don't show up on Thursday, then they probably will. No point in compromising a job to do what you can do any weekend of the year. And don't even try working from home and celebrating, because you'll likely be terrible at both.
Sneak out an hour early if you can do so unnoticed, but don't rush to roll up. Worrying about unfinished work and responsibilities is a great way to kill a high. Besides, you'll have plenty of chances to make up for it in classier ways, like the 4/20-themed multi-course dinner at TAG Restaurant.
Check your watch to make sure you're not leaving work too early.
3. Support the cause — really
Take some time to research the history of legalized cannabis and how much its users have been persecuted by the government. Take some time to look at the bills the State of Colorado and the federal government are considering that will affect your marijuana rights. Take some time to talk friends and fellow supporters about where Colorado's legal marijuana industry is headed, and what you can do to hold it accountable. Colorado is still at the forefront of legal and commercial cannabis; help it succeed by taking pride in what we've created.
The 420 Rally in Civic Center Park is largely attended for free music and blunts nowadays, but you find still catch some pockets of activism.
4. Dab in moderation
Whether it was on 4/20 or just some random Tuesday when you had nothing better to do, everyone has a story about getting way too high. Don't let all the free dabs and bong rips and banana joints shoved in your face on 4/20 create another one. Enjoy your favorite strains, get baked with some close friends at the end of the day – but don't get zombified.
Be careful to not mix edibles and smoking unless you know what you're getting into. Be patient. Eating a fifty-milligram candy bar and then smoking a joint will have most users in the dirt within two hours, so choose one and stick with it until the night's almost over. If you can't help yourself, be prepared to be a tired, closed-mouthed tag-along for the rest of the day.
Free hits are tempting, but try not to say yes to all of them.
5. Respect those who don't
Not of all America is down with this whole legal-pot thing. And believe it or not, there are plenty of people who are cool with it and don't smoke marijuana. Leave them alone on 4/20, and maybe they'll hate it as a holiday a little less. Be respectful about where you consume, stay away from families and kids, and quit talking shit to cops just for being cops.
Keeping marijuana illegal is a dick move, but blowing smoke in someone's face instantly makes you the dick in that situation. Be the bigger person by being a smaller dick: Stick to sheltered, if still illegal, toking spots in Civic Center Park, mobile cannabis lounges and discreet smoking areas off the beaten path.
Don't make non-smokers wear a gas mask on 4/20. Take the initiative.
6. Don't get discouraged
There's tons of good entertainment going on this holiday weekend, but it's easy to feel out of place when you're surrounded by flat-brimmed hats with pot leaves, chain wallets and too much facial hair. This might force you to rub shoulders with a dirtbag or two, but you'll be okay. Most of these pajama-pants-wearing people are pretty friendly if you talk to them, and everyone at a 4/20 event is too high to give a shit about what you look like.
If you can live with the smells and close quarters, have a little fun at the 4/20-themed concerts in Denver throughout the week, with shows headlined by old-school pothead favorites like Method Man and Redman, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Afroman.
Method Man and Redman performing in 2016.
7. Get a ride
The state's "Drive High, Get a DUI" campaign is pretty straightforward. Police will be out in full force to give out public-consumption citations on 4/20, but they'll also be patrolling the metro area looking for suspicious driving and hotboxed cars.
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The Colorado Department of Transportation is trying to help you avoid a DUI, partnering with Lyft to give out free and discounted rides throughout the week. Uber is also offering ride credits, partnering with the Colorado State Patrol, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Native Roots dispensaries to educate on the dangers of smoking and driving. Let them help you. Your car will be there tomorrow – if you can remember where you left it.
Lyft and CDOT are promoting safe driving throughout the week.
Kate McKee Simmons