Comment of the Day

Reader: In Colorado, Every Day's a Festival

The High Times Cannabis Cup hit the road in 2015.
The High Times Cannabis Cup hit the road in 2015. Ken Hamblin III
When Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in late 2012, it also became the first state to host numerous official cannabis festivals, as well as the continuation of the legendary, unofficial 420 celebration at Civic Center Park.

But with eleven states now following Colorado's lead and legalizing recreational cannabis, and over thirty allowing medical marijuana, some of those festivals have moved on to newer, potentially greener pastures. Which is why a reader recently asked our Stoner: "Where did all the cannabis festivals and expos go?"

Readers have their own ideas. Says Sher:
We do not need to be the LEADER in weed festivals...we have it legal now, get on with weed.
One thing it's done for so many is made them stupified on a constant level....Every festival everywhere is already full of weed!!!
Adds Rockiemartin:
In Colorado, every day's a festival.
Responds Trevor:'s just life now.
Notes Tyler:
 I never knew people need a reason to party other then the fact the Beastie Boys fought for that right.
Suggests Sarah: 
Just stand outside any bar on South Broadway.
Adds Noah:
 Play some Kool Keith radio, invite some friends over, and have your own festival.
Explains Aaron:
 Some of the festivals were originally used to bring awareness for legalization. Now that it's legalized, well...
Replies Angie: 
There are still folks in jail for a plant, Ken Gorman was amazing, still work to be done.
She's referring to Ken Gorman, who was pivotal in this state's marijuana movement, founded the 420 rally at Civic Center and was murdered in 2007; that murder is still unsolved. Gorman helped pioneer the caregiver system after voters approved medical marijuana in Colorado in 2000. A caregiver himself, Gorman was known for his devotion to medical marijuana and helping patients, but he never lost sight of full legalization for everyone.

Now, as other states legalize marijuana, festivals are spreading across the country. As our Stoner notes: "The High Times Cannabis Cup left Denver for friendlier cities after 2015 over licensing issues, while organizations such as the National Cannabis Industry Association and MJBizCon have held recent flagship events in the southern U.S., on the East Coast and in Las Vegas, three areas that all have younger recreational cannabis markets than Denver. With Illinois and Michigan recently joining the party and California booming, that’s not going to change."

But Denver still sees smaller events from those organizations, as well as big annual expos like the Indo Expo and NoCo Hemp Expo. We list all of those in our weekly Cannabis Calendar.

Do you miss the big festivals? Do you still go to Civic Center Park on April 20? Post a comment or email your thoughts to [email protected]
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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun