COVID-19 dumped cold water on the biggest 4/20 of all time. Or did it?
For one, cannabis stores remain open, and deemed essential.
For two, people have more weed on hand than ever.
And the kicker—4/20 party promoters, entertainers, cannabis dispensaries, and smokers have rapidly pivoted to online concerts, Instagram DJ sessions and seminars, Zoom smokeouts, hangouts, and fundraisers for COVID-19 relief.’We’ve had to tear up the playbook.’Marty Higgins, Urbana cannabis stores, San Francisco
As COVID-19 cases peak this April and May, public gatherings are not allowed. But stay-at-home orders have ignited online events—dance parties, trivia nights, online poker games, you name it, said Tony Diepenbrock, engineer and host of the 4/20 World Record Zoom coming on April 20th.
“Forms of these online social gatherings have existed before,” said Diepenbrock, also from Flower Co. “We’re used to jumping online and socializing.”
COVID-19 canceled months-old parties and compressed new planning to two weeks, said Marty Higgins, owner of the two Urbana cannabis stores in San Francisco. “It’s definitely not like anything we’ve experienced before,” he said. “We’ve had to tear up the playbook.”
This creativity is the literal essence of 420, said Waldo Steve, co-originator of the term in 1971 in San Rafael, CA.
“Back in the 1970s, we did what we needed to do to adapt to the environment—all the drug suppression,” he told Leafly. “We figured out a code to be able to talk amongst ourselves in that environment. Now, it’s no different. We have to adapt, so we adapt.”
Rapper and cannabis mogul Berner tells Leafly: “It looks like we’ll have a virtual smoke out, this year, on 4/20—whether it’s on Facetime with the homies, IG live or another platform. The point is, the herb will still find a way to connect us like it always has.”
Here’s Leafly’s rundown of some of the coolest 420 parties and gatherings online this month. We’ll update the list as more last-minute ones are announced.
4/20 streaming events
Melissa Etheridge, Disco Biscuits, The Pharcyde, and Chali 2na headline Washington DC’s epic 4/20 celebration, which moved from RFK Stadium to your couch, courtesy of the National Cannabis Festival and the Emerald Cup.
It’s a “free online experience” hosted on NUGS.TV. Donations go to Live Nation’s Crew Nation, Drug Policy Alliance, and Americans for Safe Access. April 20, 4 p.m.—10 p.m. EST.
Expect a tribute to Charlotte Figi; a special 4/20 edition of Great Moments in Weed History with Abdullah Saeed and David Bienenstock; an ice water hash workshop with Frenchy Cannoli; and the Weed+Grub podcast with guest Laganja Estranja. Providing global relief for live music crews furloughed during social distancing efforts. Live Nation is matching up to $5 million in donations to the Crew Nation fund.
“Now more than ever we need to come together and bring some positivity to the world,” said Tim Blake, Founder of The Emerald Cup. “We’re so happy to be partnering with National Cannabis Festival to raise money for these important causes at a time when a lot of people could use a helping hand.”
It’s a full day of music performances, online workshops, demos, and interactive panels celebrating the spirit of the 420 holiday while maintaining distance during the global pandemic.
The Great American Sesh In keeps people ‘safely spaced’ at home 4/20. (Courtesy The Great American Sesh In)
On April 18, Global Citizen and the World Health Organization’s big online shebang includes Alanis Morissette, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and more. 8 p.m. EST on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, and iHeartMedia.
Time 4 Hemp kicks off 4/20 at 4:20 a.m. in the first time zone to celebrate, New Zealand, with a day-long series of programming featuring longtime activist leaders Keith Stroup (NORML founder) and Lynnette Shaw (Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana), Dr. Sue Sisley, Elvy Musikka, Sensi Seeds Ben Dronkers, and 40 others. Streaming on Time 4 Hemp, their I Heart Radio station, and Roku. Raising funds for Hand Sanitizer ASAP, and Patients Out of Time.
4/20 artist livestreams
Rappers and smokers have been digital natives since the ‘90s. You know they’re going to crush the 4/20 online game, albeit last-minute.
The San Francisco rapper and cannabis mogul plans to take to the streams for 4/20 virtual smoke sessions featuring “Berner and celebrity friends.”
Berner also goes live coast to coast during the Highstream 4/20 Festival in partnership with the National Cannabis Festival and Emerald Cup, in support of COVID-19 relief.
Expect more new product special announcements from Berner and entertainer friends.
“I’m so used to traveling the world and enjoy being around my supporters more than anything. It gives me life,” Bern tells Leafly. “It’s hard to accept this is the new normal, but I’m glad that cannabis is considered an essential business, so we can serve patients and continue to put smiles on faces.”
Berner and B-Real bring livestreams, new music, and store deals to 420. (Courtesy B-Real)
Join California cannabis brand Flower Co.’s former marketing guy Tony Diepenbrock as he seeks to break the world record for “Most People Consuming Cannabis on Video Chat.” The engineer and remote education expert can smoothly run a Zoom conference room with 1,000 guests for a 4/20 world record. Everyone is invited.
Donations from the Zoom meeting go to the Last Prisoner Project, which is doing what it sounds like. He’ll match 100%.
“I’m trying to keep mine as short and sweet as possible to get people on and off in 10 to 20 minutes. Play a few songs right at 420, have some fun with it. And assume that everyone will run off to other zoom things shortly after,” said Diepenbrock.
Rapper Wiz Khalifa and country music artist Billy Ray Cyrus headline WeedMaps’ virtual party Monday. Raising money for Last Prisoner Project.
Cannabis store online events
Expect North America’s thousands of cannabis outlets to spin up online interactions of some kind.
NBA baller Al Harrington’s brand, Viola, has a 420 IG Daily Series this week with stories from Dreamville’s JID, iconic rap legend Bun B of UGK, Vic Mensa, record producer genius, Mike Will Made It, and Cypress Hill’s B-Real before a final episode with best rapper alive Freddie Gibbs. Full line-up: JID & Bun B on 4/13; Haiti Babii & Vic Mensa on 4/14; Mike Will Made it on 4/15; Food God on 4/16; Mack Wilds on 4/17; G Herbo on 4/18; Marty Grimes and BReal on 4/19; Freddie Gibbs on 4/20.
San Francisco’s Urbana stores have switched from consumption lounge parties to a day of online DJs, live art, panels, and promotions. “We are meeting customers where they live, which is online,” said Higgins, Urbana’s operator.
Instead of just 40 people in his lounge, 400 people can experience Urbana online this 4/20, he said. “It’s a big win in terms of the number of impressions or clicks or overall experience.”
Live music, stand-up comedy and a smoke sesh from Canada—hosted by 420-friendly comedian, Mike Rita, with DJ Mensa on weedy anthems. 4/20; 3:10 p.m.-4:40 p.m.EST. 19+. Pre-register.
The Green Solution with Riff Raff, Devin the Dude, Marc E. Bassy
Similarly, Colorado’s 21-store chain The Green Solution will be hosting “virtual gatherings” on its social media and giving away “free weed for a year.”
The Reef in Seattle is sponsoring a livestream concert from artist Whitney Monge on Friday “in celebration of 420.”
See also: The Haus of Jane 420 Celebration with Chelsea Handler; Saucey Smoke Outs; Playboy Magazine’s Twitter AMA on Cannabis Policy, Culture, Anatomy and Sex 11 a.m. PST
4/20 screenings and releases
Singer Kelis‘ six-episode series Cooked With Cannabis hosted by the singer and the chef Leather Storrs debuts 4/20 on Netflix. The first season features a rotating cast of dinner guests, including Ricki Lake, Too $hort, and EL-P.
Portland’s popular annual SPLIFF Film Fest goes streamed-only this year in the weekend leading up to 4/20.
New ensemble comedy 4/20 debuts for one day for $4.20. Similar to other holiday ensembles like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, 4/20 takes place entirely on one day (April 20), and follows multiple storylines relating to marijuana. Cannabis influencer Koala Puffs, who makes her feature debut in the film, stars along with Audrey Whitby (The Thundermans), Natasha Hall (Game Night), and KC Clyde (Yellowstone). It’s now available for pre-sale orders on Vimeo using the discount code “holiday.”
Joints become art with Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand. (Courtesy Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand)
Post-rock gods Radiohead announced new streams of concert footage beginning April 9, and lasting until “either the restrictions resulting from current situation are eased, or we run out of shows. Which will be first? No-one knows.” The Radiohead Public Library is a national treasure, especially the two-hour, 2016 Lollapalooza live set in high-def. Free.
Daily Bonfire is a new daily live trivia app you can play with your friends and win cash. Hosted by Cooking on High comedian Ngaio Bealum; powered by HelloMD. This month, submit videos in five categories to win prizes including $420 in instant cash; best strain review; most stylish joint; best recipe; best homemade bong; and best post-sesh talent show.
Tommy Chong canceled his 4/20 VIP Tour but he released Cheech and Chong Bud Farm, a simulation game for mobile devices.
Metallica streams past concerts at 8 p.m. EST, Mondays on YouTube.
Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong covers a song every week “until we’re let back out into the world” on YouTube.
Beatport has a huge 24-hour ReConnect event planned Friday, April 17 at 8 PM GMT, streaming live on Twitch.
Dr. Dre’s The Chronic finally comes to streaming services on 4/20.
Nightmares on Wax drops a series of broadcasts including one on 4/20.nightmaresonwax✔@nightmaresonwax
Hello beautiful people! I hope you’re all doing well and staying healthy during lockdown As we’ve had to reschedule the tour, I’m locked away in the studio finishing something very exciting which I can’t wait to share with you.
Daily Instagram Live DJ sessions
Keep it simple this 4/20—drop in on an Instagram DJ session from some of the greats.
- Wiz Khalifa hosts daily sessions? Of course, he does.
- DJ Questlove from the Roots will have nightly all-vinyl sets of soul, funk, and so much more—mandatory viewing. Questlove is spinning for The Food Hub NYC. Black Thought presents his Streams Of Thought YouTube, part of a slate of The Roots streaming stuff.
- Global electronic music icon Diplo livestreams DJ sets five nights a week on YouTube, Twitch, and Instagram, including “A Very Lazer Sunday” on Sundays at 7 p.m. EST; “Ronatronix” on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST; “The Thomas Wesley Show” on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST; Corona Sabbath Fridays on Fridays at 10 p.m. EST; and “Coronight Fever” on Saturdays at 11 p.m EST.
- On April 10, Grateful Dead launches a weekly stream of previous concerts and a Q&A series “Shakedown Stream.” Fridays at 8 p.m. EST on YouTube.
- A Golden Escape—Saturday, April 18, California cannabis flower brand A Golden State’s gives back through a charitable partnership with California Primary Care Association. Instagram Stories Live workout, cooking class, beauty demo, dance party, a cannabis social hour, and more. A Golden State donates $2 for every #StayHomeSmokeWeed (up to $10,000) used on Saturday April 18th.
- On 4/20, Spherex vapes sponsor a Lightshade virtual 4/20 party with live video DJ sets.
- The Ganja Yoga 420 Experience—Join ganja yoga popularizer Dee Desault as she leads an herb yoga class on IG live twice weekly; evenings Tuesdays and midday Fridays, through April. On 4/20, a first-ever day-long yoga-focused weed and wellness thing featuring loads of guests like Oakland’s hash mistress, The Dank Dutchess (below). 11 a.m.-5 p.m. PST. $12.
- See other regular streams from: Anderson Paak; Paul Simon; Johnny Marr; Rolling Stone.
- Check more daily listings on Billboard and Brooklyn Vegan.
4/20 gear online sales
A country that shops together, stays together—we guess. Spend some of that Trump check on new schwag.
- The exquisite cannabis journal, Broccoli, debuts a $36, 1,000-piece puzzle photo by Carl Ostberg ‘Smoke and Petals’, in collaboration with Piecework. 19.25” x 26.6”. Thick stock and high-quality 100% recycled art paper. Designed and made in the US. Unsuitable for kids.
- Homegrow kit legends Black Dog LED knock 20% prices off through 4/w0/2020.
- B-Real has a new single with Berner called “Candy” featuring Rick Ross from their Los Meros album dropping 4/20. The album also features Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Xzibit, Paul Wall, Everlast, and others.
- Busy B Real also has a beer with Sweet Water Brewing Co: Insane OG Mexican-Style Craft Lager, “emulating a favorite cannabis strain” with terpenes, hemp and hops, and yielding “a dank hit on the nose when you crack it open.” Pretty chill at 28 IBUs and 5.6% ABV. Malts: Pilsner, Vienna, Rice, Carapils, Midnight Wheat. Hops: Saaz, Crystal, El Dorado.
- The originators of 420, The Waldos, commemorate 4/20, 2020, with a run of trippy custom watches from Time Concepts, the proceeds of which partly go to Drug Policy Alliance; $150 to never forget 4/20 again.
- Vape lords Grenco cut prices on their line of alternatives to smoking, including a new collaboration with the aforementioned B-Real.
- DaVinci Vaporizer knocks 20% off their MIQRO device, now at $99.