420 in Weed: people flocked to the small town to celebrate cannabis

Shareen Strauss
Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers
On April 20, the Weed Chamber of Commerce along with La Florista and Perfect Union dispensaries hosted a 420 Festival on Main Street with live music at the Heritage Park, with Mt. Shasta as a backdrop. Marijuana enthusiasts got to dance and have fun out in the open throughout the day. Sundown Poachers, a favorite local band, got people dancing for hours well into the evening.

Weed's two cannabis dispensaries came together on Tuesday, April 20 to host a 420 festival celebrating all things cannabaceae.

La Florista and Perfect Union, both located on Weed's Main Street, along with the Weed Chamber of Commerce, hosted the second 420 Festival with street vendors, food, promotions, marijuana product education, live music and drawings throughout the day. 

The little town of about 2,700 people got its name from the founder of the local lumber mill and pioneer Abner Weed, according to the City of Weed website. And although the city was once reluctant to allow cannabis businesses, the council implemented a 3% local sales cannabis tax that started in January, said city manager Tim Rundel. 

"We roughly estimated that the 3% would bring somewhere close to $100,000 per year," Rundel said.

Although the 420 holiday was once embraced by the counter-culture as a time to smoke marijuana, and by others to push for marijuana legalization, since it has been legalized in California, the day has become somewhat commercialized, as was the case Tuesday in Weed.

Like in 2019 at the first 420 Festival, there was some rain, but unlike the prior celebration, the weather cleared and droves of people came out to enjoy the music and to check things out. 

During the event, La Florista held a grand opening of the first cannabis consumption bar in Siskiyou County, called the VIP Lounge. There were drawings and giveaways throughout the day including a grand prize drawing of products valued over $500 at (you guessed it) 4:20 p.m. 

There were 10 California state licensed cannabis companies present, including Oz, Ganja Gold, Heavy Hitters, Cosmo DS, Absolute Xtracts, Self Baked (bake-it-yourself edibles) Korova, Stiiizy, Jefferson Soul and Sweetwater Pharms. Each had their own educational promotions on different CBD and THC products.

Perfect Union held games on their patio while Jimmy Limo and DJ Deep N Dank played at the VIP Lounge. People danced throughout the day to Roy Lisker, Distance to the Sun and Sundown Poachers, who performed outside on stage at Heritage Park. 

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There were even some actors there from the movie "Crypto Heads," where a CBD heist was filmed in Weed with La Florista owner Elizabeth Tabor. 

There are many theories about the origins of the term "420," which is cannabis culture slang for marijuana, or the smoking of marijuana products. But many reliable sources say the term originated in 1971 with a group of high school students in San Rafael, who used the term as a code in connection with a plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop.

At Tuesday's festival, while listening and dancing to the music, Laurie Yerkes said, "I think a festival with live music is wonderful. It has been a long time since I have been out having fun like this. The Sundown Poachers are the best. I am their number one fan."