Happy 4/20 Day was a familiar greeting among North State pot users Friday.
April 20th is the traditional day for cannabis celebrations, and 4:20 p.m. as a time to toke up, owing to marijuana mythology but it took on a special significance Friday because it’s the first 4/20 when sales and use of recreational marijuana were legal in California.
Alexsis Owens went to The Darkside paraphernalia shop in downtown Redding where a party attracted dozens of like-minded revelers. Smoking pot wasn’t permitted but every once in a while a whiff could be smelled away from the gathering.
The 26-year-old said she came to the festivity for its “good vibes and the energy” and also to check out the bongs.
“I’ve been looking forward to this event,” she said. “I’m here to celebrate with the rest of the community.”
Owens recently moved to Redding from Ohio now that recreational pot is legal in the state and is part of 420 Nurses, a promotional modeling business out of Los Angeles.
Darkside owner Bruce Bussard said his shop has always celebrated 4/20 but Friday was special with its free 4/20 tacos (the server said at least 420 were being given away) and live music, with reggae on the playlist.
“We do this every year regardless of the fact that this year recreational is legal,” Bussard said. “It’s a fun day for everybody. Everyone’s having a good time.”
Several of The Darkside’s draws were product discounts and a 4:20 p.m. giveaway of a street-legal, green 1967 VW dune buggy valued at $8,000.
Dispensaries in Shasta Lake, the only city so far where both medicinal and recreational marijuana can legally be sold in Shasta County, had plenty of customers.
“We’ve been very busy,” said executive assistant Stephanie Pierce at 530 Cannabis off Shasta Dam Boulevard. “There’s been a lot of people coming out today to celebrate with us.”
She said 4/20 is a great day for the industry. Her business attracted clients with Friday specials on one of its best sellers: a five-pack of Ganja Gold joints for $40, $10 off the regular price. Customers got pizza and cupcakes while they waited in the packed lobby.
530 Cannabis customer and oncology patient Preston Schwortz of Weaverville dropped by to replenish his medicinal supply and it was 4/20 just by coincidence.
“I’ve been smoking weed for 50 years. I never thought it would be legalized,” the 68-year-old said. “It’s about time.”
At Leave It To Nature, owner Stacey Hanes said she had wall-to-wall customers taking advantage of specials, free swag bags (no cannabis inside) and free massages by Back Rubz.
“We stocked up (with cannabis). We planned for it,” she said.
The city of Redding got in on the occasion by sending out a news release Friday announcing the availability of rules for accepting proposals to obtain retail cannabis business licenses.
The city’s ordinance limits the number of future retail cannabis businesses to 10 and imposes strict rules on where the stores can be located. Applicants for retail licenses will go through a competitive bidding process and the city will rank the bids by mid-June.
Darkside’s Bussard said he can’t have a cannabis store at his existing business due to downtown restrictions, including requirements for a free-standing building without common walls and away from schools. Otherwise, he might be interested in submitting one of the applications that are due to the city by June 1 along with $1,000 non-refundable proposal review fee.
“I would be interested if I could find the right building at the right price,” Bussard said.
Jamie Garzot, owner of 530 Cannabis, previously has said she’s scouting locations for a Redding location.