Yesterday was April 20, or 4/20. It almost slipped by me without me realizing this was a day celebrated by many people as a Worldwide Weed Day. As I noted the date on my computer’s calendar, I contemplated the significance of the day. I smiled as I remembered an adventure before the adventure just a few years earlier.
It was in August of 2017. I had been invited to join Ken Sande, the founder of Peacemaker Ministries and current leader of Relational Wisdom 360, along with 30 other Christian Conciliators from around the country at a retreat outside Colorado Springs. Whenever I go to Colorado, I try to build in time at the end of the trip for a hike up a 14,000-foot-high summit (referred to as a 14er). As a part of my trying new things mindset, I had been booking stays through Airbnbs in recent years. I found one that met all my criteria: It was close to the hike (6 miles away), it had a 5-star rating, and it was reasonably priced. So, I booked it. But as I started to print out the confirmation, I noticed it said, “420 OK Mountain Getaway.” What was the 420 reference? I’m a lawyer; I do research for a living, so you guessed it … I googled 420.
I quickly learned that in the cannabis culture, 420 was a code for marijuana or smoking marijuana. According to Ryan Grim, “The origin of the term 420, celebrated around the world by pot smokers every April 20, has long been obscured by the clouded memories of the folks who made it a phenomenon.” The various stories related to the roots of 420 are: (1) It was the police code in California for marijuana smoking in progress; (2) 4/20 @ 4:20 PM was on a flyer for an outdoor pot party before a Grateful Dead concert in California in 1990; and (3) a group of five San Rafael High School friends known as the Waldos – by virtue of their chosen hang-out spot, a wall outside the school – coined the term in 1971.
Now I knew what to expect in my “420 OK Mountain Getaway.” I started to cancel and re-book somewhere else, but then I thought, “No, this could be the adventure before the adventure.” I sent a message to the owner saying I was coming to Colorado for a Christian Conciliators’ conference, and his place looked like a great base camp for my hike up Mt. Democrat afterwards.
It certainly was an adventure before the adventure. I heard my host’s story. Not only was he welcoming to the use of marijuana on his property, but his whole bottom floor was a greenhouse for the growth of Colorado’s newly legalized cash crop. He was a licensed grower who did Cannabis oils. He told me, “I didn’t know what to expect [based on my earlier message to him]. My neighbor is a fundamentalist Christian and he hates me!” I told him, I don’t hate you and Jesus doesn’t either.
As we talked more, I learned he had a serious Father wound (and mother) with them both dying at an early age from drug overdoses. He was raised by a Christian grandmother, but then he was hurt in church and never went back. We had interesting discussions about the public policy behind Colorado’s legalization of marijuana. He cooked me a great meal (he had been a chef at a 5-star restaurant in Breckenridge before he started his marijuana business and Airbnb enterprise). I declined the pot-laced rice crispy treat he offered for dessert, and I retired for the evening.
As I entered my bathroom, I was greeted by a big green marijuana plant on the vanity (see photo above). It was literally a potted pot plant. There was also a bar of green soap, which I am sure was cannabis-infused. I went to bed. I had a restful night’s sleep, before I awakened before daybreak to begin the next leg of my adventure – the ascent of Mt. Democrat. Now, that, my friends, is my kind of Rocky Mountain high! And mountain top highs don’t give you the munchies.
This post by Stephen Garner originally appeared on his blog, Hikerdude.wordpress.com.