Monday was April 20, often celebrated by marijuana culture as the holiday “4/20.” While its origins are complex, the day is recognized by cannabis connoisseurs as the highest of days on the stoner calendar. It’s common for those who partake in music festivals or watch stoner culture films and imbibe in the drug.
This year, however, the holiday fell during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid near-universal lockdown orders, most observers of the holiday were relegated to enjoying their pastime at home. Others, however, were displeased with this outcome. Yearning to enjoy the weed holiday, many threw 4/20 parties in spite of lockdowns. Then, the cops got involved.
On Monday, patrol officers on their beat were stopped by a concerned citizen. The person informed the police that they had seen an “alarming” number of people in a commercial building. Nearby, on the third floor of an NYC building, roughly forty people were partying. The party was organized by a company called Ganja Pigs, which makes weed edibles.
The company has not yet made a public comment on the story. However, New York police busted the group up, citing social distancing regulations. While marijuana has been largely decriminalized in New York, its recreational use is still outlawed in the state. As such, the party was illegal on two counts.
Many weed users enjoy partaking with friends around. Lockdown for some is a chance to take a tolerance break and relax, like they’re in the best drug rehab clinic ever. For others, though, it’s lonely.
Marijuana faces a long journey to widespread legalization in the US. It’s still illegal at the federal level, and only a handful of states have legalized its recreational use. Many more have the drug available by prescription. Yet more still have possession of the drug classified as a criminal offense.
After nearly seven weeks of lockdowns in the US, many people are growing frustrated. While most people understand the need for the measures, they’re getting cabin fever. People eager to get out and enjoy the mild spring air are coming into conflict with lockdown orders. In some states, full-blown lockdown protests are popping up.
Discourse surrounding the lockdowns has begun to get heated. The divisive American political landscape has settled over the debate, as well. Many of the protestors lean republican, while those condemning their actions lean democrat. However, even some left-leaning commentators have expressed concern over the totalitarian methods some police departments are using in enforcing lockdown orders.
Likewise, some right-leaning pundits have noted their caution with regards to lifting lockdown measures too quickly. In spite of protests, they argue that widespread reinfection and loss of life will also cripple local economies.