Jim McAlpine can’t say he’s particularly surprised that ticket sales for Denver, Colorado’s first-ever 420 Games this weekend, have far surpassed those for all other inaugural events held over the last two years.
What he can say is that it bodes well for the profile (and the future) of the ever-growing athletic event whose aim is to challenge the stereotype that cannabis consumers are lazy and unmotivated.
“We expect about 350 to 400 people to show up and run [in Denver]… this is about double what we’ve seen in the past for a first event,” McAlpine told Civilized. “More and more people have gotten interested and are showing up.”
This has been the case pretty much from the get-go, according to McAlpine.
The first 420 Games – arguably the world’s first series of athletic events specifically geared toward cannabis-consuming fitness buffs – were launched in August 2014 and held in such locations as San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. The number of participants has skyrocketed from 200 in 2014 to more than 10,000 in four states and six cities this year, including stops in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.
Denver’s Sept. 24 Games, which are slated to include a 4.20 Mile Fun Run as well as live music and educational speeches at Berkeley Lake Park, mark the first stop in Colorado this year. The Games will go to Boulder on Oct. 1, then cap off for the year in Portland, Oregon on Oct. 29.
McAlpine said the Games’ growth this year has been unprecedented – in more ways than one. There have been more non-cannabis-consuming participants at this year’s events than ever before, for example; this is music to McAlpine’s ears.
“Two years ago, I think [the Games] were more centred on people who already smoked marijuana and were already in the athletic cannabis scene… I’ve slowly begun to see more and more non-cannabis users coming out to the event to learn more and to support the lifestyle of the people they care about,” said McAlpine.
“I think in the last year, a lot of people have realized they’ve been lied to, and a lot of people have opened their minds up.”
However the demographics have shifted – and however they are likely to keep shifting – McAlpine’s goal remains the same: to confront the “completely and totally false” stereotype that cannabis consumers are inherently inactive individuals.
“My stance is that a person chooses who and what they are. You can smoke weed and sit on a couch and be lazy or you can smoke weed and lace up your shoes and go for a run,” said McAlpine.
“It’s the person who makes that decision. The plant isn’t making you do anything…The stereotypes are false and they’ve been pushed for so many generations that they’ve become so ingrained in our society… that’s the reason we want to do these events.”
McAlpine has big plans for expansion of the Games next year. He hopes to stage eight events in total across the States, and is even thinking about taking them to Canada. Also: see how 420 got its name.