A 4.20-Mile Running Event Seeks to ‘De-Stigmatize’ Marijuana

Photo: Richard Haick

The world-famous Santa Monica Pier near Los Angeles will be the site of the inaugural 420 Games Los Angeles on Saturday—and the activities kick off with a 4.2-mile run down the oceanfront walk toward Venice Beach.

The purpose of the 420 Games? “To de-stigmatize cannabis and the people who use it,” according to a press release.

“In 2014, I stepped out and created this new genre of athletics and cannabis use in order to inspire the rest of the world to step out with me,” said founder Jim McAlpine. “The 420 Games is humbled and honored to be credited with the creation of ‘CannaAthletics.’ The 420 Games’ purpose is to emphasize that highly functional people, even professional athletes, use cannabis and are hardly the lazy stoners the world has portrayed. Fostering a new, positive mindset about those who use cannabis is going to be absolutely critical for the national legalization of marijuana.”

The 420 Games started in San Francisco and was originally a 5K. It is now a 4.2-mile race with the tagline “Go the extra mile for cannabis!”

The number 420 (and offshoots like 4/20 and 4:20) is a historical code-term that refers to the consumption of cannabis in various forms. Recreational marijuana use was legalized in Colorado and Washington in recent years, while medical marijuana is legal in 23 other states.

Having said that, recreational use of marijuana is not currently legal in California, and accordingly, officials stress that the 420 Games is a non-smoking event. “We are forging new outlooks and a new respect for both cannabis and the people who use it… a cloud of smoke over our heads at the pier—both literally and figuratively—is not the message we want to send out to the world.”  McAlpine said.

The 4.2-mile trek can be done running, walking, skateboarding or on a bike. A few former professional athletes will be on hand, including Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams and former NFL Pro-Bowler Kyle Turley.

Saturday’s event is the first of six stops in the 420 Games tour. It will also be in San Francisco, Boulder, Denver, Seattle and Portland later this year.

After the run will be a beer-tasting event at the Santa Monica Pier, followed by an after-party at a nearby nightclub.

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