Pacing Through the Land of the Slow

You know I felt like blowing to let you know how I was feeling, let me get back to flowin’
I’m going on a little journey
Would you like to come and join me?
Snoop Dog, “1st We Blaze It Up”

There are a lot of popular urban myths associated with the naming of National Marijuana Appreciation Day as 420. Some believe it was the day Bob Marley died (actually 5/11/81), some believe it was the number on the bill to Congress for the legalization of pot (this number was on the bill before Congress in California, however the bill showed up at a later date than the origin of the term ‘420’), some say it’s the penal code number for ‘possession of marijuana’ (untrue-there is no 420 call code). According to David Emery of About.com and Snopes.com, the urban terminology ‘420’ originated from a California high school (San Rafael High School) back in the early 70’s when a bunch of stoners would gather every day at a designated spot to get high, at 4:20, thus the term was encrypted into drug culture lingo and an herbal day of celebration was born. I was anxious to witness the medicated festivity in downtown Denver but had to wait until the early evening hours to get down there. Work came first, then finally, it was on the light rail to what was left of the celebration. Would the event be over, me having missed the biggest freakshow of the year? Time would tell.

My neighbors to the north in Boulder would have their own problems; CU Boulder (Colorado University) has been known as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, ‘party’ school in the country and this year the local governing who-dos were not going to tolerate any out of hand antics. In previous years the campus grounds had become a walking wasteland of people of all ages walking around in a humidor-like fog. This year, council members decided to spray the campus lawns with a particularly foul smelling fish based fertilizer to ward off any meandering heads, as well as implementing increased police security to check folks for campus ID-anyone caught on school grounds that wasn’t a student would be arrested.

Well that was Boulder and this is Denver. Police here have pestered smokers and drug abusers of various flavors down at Civic Center Park for a number of years, their efforts becoming more futile with the recent onslaught of Occupy Denver protesters finding refuge in this domain. On various visits here (while covering the political zombie scene) I have usually been approached by dealers selling pot, smack, mushrooms, fresh adrenal glands to munch on-anything and everything wicked and perverse can be found for sale here. This day however, 420, would promise a swelling crowd of weekend trippers and dippers, sponsored merchant head shop tents and curious individuals from Denver and neighboring towns showing up for the gala. Local forces would tolerate a bunch of pot smoking docile citizens, but the hard core junkies better be on the lookout.

Cops were everywhere, bands of uniformed officers gathered in circles, arms crossed and socializing with one another. After dashing in to the bus station restroom I began to walk over to Civic Center Park where the meat of the event was taking place. I was immediately stopped along the way by some hard core street brotha who asked if I was a cop. I had to laugh as my recent choice to shave my head may have influenced his visual opinion of me. I pulled out my prescription flask of high octane pot mixed with some 20x strength salvia and let him have a whiff; he granted me passage with a huge shit eating grin…my brotha! I was now on my way to the meat of things, looking forward to finding a suitable place to pipe up in the park. It seemed so odd to have such huge quantities of out in the open stoned, smoking individuals. This was the Land of the Slow. Everything moved at a digressed pace, logy grins everywhere, gangstas hitting up on fine looking women, trash littered the ground like snowflakes, dub step pockets of sound in various spots. This was the best and the worst of all those free concerts I remembered from my youth, only multiplied in size by a factor of ten. I needed to venture on…….


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