The 420 Games is like the Olympics for stoners - take a look inside
There are some 2.5 million legal cannabis users in the US, which means the lazy, bong-ripping stoner we see in movies like "Pineapple Express" and almost any bromance starring Seth Rogen no longer represents the average smoker (if it ever did in the first place).A few years ago, a snowboarding company executive and longtime toker named Jim McAlpine set out to create an event that would bring recreational and medicinal marijuana users together and show the world they're capable of more than eating pizza and binge-watching "South Park."Advertisement
The 420 Games is just that - an Olympics-style athletics event where pot enthusiasts and their families compete in triathlons, obstacle courses, mountain bike races, golf tournaments, and the signature 4.20-mile run. It launched in San Francisco in 2014, and the company shared photos from that event with Tech Insider.
Here's what it's like to compete.
From across the lawn of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, the 420 Games look no different than any mainstream sports event.
Young professionals and families dress in athletic clothing and compete in triathlons, obstacle courses, mountain bike races, golf tournaments, and even half-marathons.Advertisement
But upon closer inspection, you'll notice every runner's bib is emblazoned with the number 420, a symbol of cannabis culture.
Companies like weed delivery startup Eaze and Harborside Health Center, considered the country's largest dispensary, sponsor the event.Advertisement
Participants can take a drag from a vape pen or nibble on a marijuana edible before their event, but smoking is discouraged (and illegal in Golden Gate Park).
The last thing I want is for people looking over to see a giant cloud of smoke," McAlpine says. "It doesn't breed what we're looking to build.Advertisement
McAlpine hopes the 420 Games help reimagine the smoker stereotype. "I want the younger generation to have a role model for what a stoner is," he says. "I love Snoop [Dogg], but it doesn't have to be Snoop."
The 420 Games' signature event is the 4.20-mile race, in lieu of a 5K. "We're running the extra mile to show we're here to be serious athletes," McAlpine says.Advertisement
At the end of the race, athletes celebrate with free beer from local sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Company.
There's also a musical performance every year. In 2015, British reggae artist Pato Banton serenaded crowds in San Francisco.Advertisement
Attendance quadrupled from 2014 to 2015 — up from 150 participants to 600 —at the San Francisco 420 Games.
In 2016, 420 Games tours Los Angeles, Denver, Boulder, Portland, and Seattle — making this year its most ambitious yet.Advertisement
Our events don't look down on stoner culture," McAlpine says. "I fell into that category once. I look at us as what the graduated stoner will become.
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