Cannabis activists seek to make 4/20 a Colorado state holiday

Colorado voters to decide whether to make 4/20 a legal state holiday

 by Allen Good-Best

Flush with their success in getting a constitutional amendment passed to legalize consumption of marijuana in Colorado, cannabis activists are now setting out for their next coup.

In November, Colorado voters will be asked to approve a formal state holiday called 4/20, to be held every April 20th.

And if state voters approve it, there presumably will be a major gathering in downtown Denver, in Civic Center Park, at 4:20 in the afternoon. Won’t this throw our cannabis-cautious governor, Hick, for a loop.

But what the heck. Marijuana is said to be fast advancing to become Colorado’s third largest crop, millions of dollars of new taxes are being raised for schools.

Why not just take April off, beginning on April 1, the day of all fools.

Since at least 1974, I’ve had a smile on my face most every April Fools’ Day. That year, I was a student at Colorado State University, and Richard Nixon was in trouble. The guy who had run on a platform of law-and-order was being exposed as a crook. And then one morning I picked up a copy of the CSU Collegian.

“Nixon resigns,” said the story, and the story by Joel Kassiday, who was editor of the paper, sounded credible—until I got to this line. “The world has lost a man with a big nose,” said Uganda dictator Idi Amin.

With that, I started walking weird. One leg was had me at 6-foot-2, but my other leg had been pulled so badly I was listing in a circle.

In the small towns where I spent much of my journalistic career, we had a lot of fun with April Fools’ Day. This was a time when there were newspapers – and lots of them. When I got to Vail in 1985, there were four newspapers in the Eagle Valley. Some people now call it the Vail Valley. That’s like saying northern Colorado is all the Denver Valley. But that’s another story.

Most of us had a page, once a year, devoted to April foolery. The quality was uneven, though. Just making up something that is false isn’t funny. A flying saucer? Yeah, but it has to graze the truth of something.

Scott Miller struck that balance brilliantly in 1991. The Japanese economy was growing muscularly like Popeye after a can of spinach. Japanese were buying golf courses in Hawaii. In Colorado, ski areas like Crested Butte were trying to figure out how to get Japanese visitors, just as resorts are now sizing up Chinese’s new millionaires.

The other truth was that Gilman, the old mining “town” south of Minturn, on a shoulder of Battle Mountain, sat forlorn and empty, part of a Superfund site but with a view of toward to die for.

Gilman's airy perch. Perfect for a hang-gliding port, reported Scott Miller.

Gilman’s airy perch. Perfect for a hang-gliding port, reported Scott Miller.

“Japanese buy Gilman for hang-gliding port,” Scott reported in The Vail Trail, grazing yet a third truth, as hang-gliding was then surging in popularity.

About the same time, Jack Affleck, then a Vail Daily photograph, had a photo of two Vail ski patrolman excitedly pointing to the glove that one of them wore, palm upraised. “Patrolmen find two identical snowflakes,” was his cutline.

My best effort during that era played off local geography. Just north of Vail, prominent from Vail Mountain, is one of many Bald Mountains in Colorado. I had the landscape artist Christo and his wife, the now-late Jean Claude, taking a ski vacation in Vail.

“Christo proposes to put plastic toupe on Bald Mountain,” I reported in the Vail Valley Times, a newspaper that, like most of them that I worked for, no longer exists.

Last year, at my website, I had Vail Resorts planning to diversify its assets and appeal more broadly to international guests by offering tourist space travel — from a launching pad at Leadville, which is, after all, two miles above sea level. That much closer to space, I reported, in obvious silliness – except that it’s one of the rationales for a spaceport by Sir Richard Branson in New Mexico and, I think, one east of Denver.

Before I turn my attention back to greenhouse gases and other serious-as-a-heart attack stuff, I’m cooking up some tom-foolery has to do with Interstate 70’s problems in winter and Colorado’s last unappropriated drops of water.


About Allen Best

Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist. He publishes a subscription-based e-zine called Mountain Town News, portions of which are published on the website of the same name, and also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines.
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