Pretty much anyone who is familiar with cannabis culture knows that April 20th (4/20) is the biggest holiday of the year for cannabis enthusiasts. With this year being the first 4/20 in California where adults 21+ can enjoy legally lighting up, it’s certainly going to be one for the books! Here at Hopegrown, we want to make sure you enjoy the holiday—which is why we’ve come up with several tips for ensuring you have a fun, safe time on Friday!

1. Don’t drive while high or light up in your car!

This one should be fairly obvious, but we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t remind you that operating a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis is never a good idea. Whether you’ve smoked, vaped, taken an edible, enjoyed a tincture or taken a dab make sure you’ve got a designated sober driver if you plan to go out afterwards (or call yourself a Lyft or an Uber). This tip is one we recommend every day of the year, but especially on 4/20 when you can rest assured the police will be out looking for people driving under the influence. Be smart and set a positive example by not getting behind the wheel while buzzed—now that California has legalized cannabis the rest of the nation is watching to see what happens and it would be absolutely terrible for the first recreational 4/20 in California to see a drastic increase in people driving under the influence. Fun fact: It’s also illegal for passengers to use cannabis in a car, so even if you’re not the one driving put that joint away until you reach your destination!

2. On the note of legality, be aware of where you legally can and can’t smoke cannabis.

When cannabis became legal in California with the passage of Prop 64, there were a lot of misconceptions about what it meant. One of the main misconceptions? That you can just light up anywhere now. It’s true that it’s legal to smoke cannabis in California if you’re 21+, but it has to be within a private residence or at a licensed smoking lounge. There are some cities where you can smoke at the beach, but in general public consumption is a big no-no. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your 4/20 smoke session with friends—like we mentioned before, the police will definitely be on the lookout for people breaking the new cannabis laws on 4/20. It’s always better to be informed and have a plan before you start smoking so that you can enjoy the time with friends and not have to worry about whether or not the cops are going to show up.

3. Check in with your local dispensary ahead of time to see what their deals are.

4/20 is pretty much like Black Friday for the retail side of the cannabis industry and you can bet that your local shop has a lot of great deals happening that day! Since a lot of these deals tend to be “While supplies last” or during a certain window of time, get in touch with dispensaries ahead of time to see what their deals will be so you can plan your day accordingly. Most places have been gearing up for 4/20 for months, so even if they haven’t released all their deals yet they likely know what they will be and can give you a general breakdown of what to expect. Keep in mind that if you’re trying to get a deal that’s during a certain window of time you’ll probably want to arrive early since wait times are increased on 4/20.

4. Be prepared to wait in line and deal with crowds.

No one likes to wait in line and we’ve all got places to be, but if long lines and crowds aren’t your thing you may want to consider skipping the dispensary on 4/20. For most dispensaries, 4/20 is a day where they see anywhere from 2-5 times their usual amount of customers and even though they prepare accordingly, lines and crowds are something they simply can’t avoid on this day. If you have a lot of questions, need more personal attention in regards to picking products for specific ailments or are visiting a dispensary as a medical patient for the first time, we recommend stopping by before 4/20 or a few days after. You’ll be able to get your questions answered and take your time with your budtender, instead of feeling rushed and overwhelmed. If you already know what you want and you want to avoid the crowds, check and see if your dispensary offers online ordering for pick-up! Yes, you still have to physically go to the dispensary, but at least you get to avoid the hustle and bustle of everyone trying to decide what they want in the budroom!

5. Make sure the dispensary you’re visiting is legal.

We know what you’re thinking—“Again with the legality stuff?” But it’s really important. Even though there are many dispensaries operating throughout California that are licensed and complying with all state and local laws, there are still numerous illegal shops that exist. These shops don’t follow the laws that licensed dispensaries do and as a result some of their 4/20 deals may seem pretty appealing, but keep in mind that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. One of these “too good to be true” deals? Any free product that contains cannabis. Legally a dispensary can no longer give away any product containing cannabis for free—on page 46 of MCRSA under the section § 5178. Customer Samples it states "(a) A licensed dispensary shall not provide free samples of medical cannabis goods to any person." You can read the entirety of MCRSA here: Prior to 2018 many dispensaries gave away joints or edibles for free, but unfortunately any dispensary that is licensed can no longer do this. So if you see a dispensary offering 4/20 deals that include free cannabis products, there’s a pretty good chance that it isn’t a legal dispensary (or at the very least they aren’t complying with the laws and are at risk of losing their license). There are a lot of other ways to tell if a dispensary is legal other than their 4/20 deals—you can check out our blog 6 Ways to Tell if Your Dispensary is Legal for more tips! Why is it so important for you to be aware if the dispensary you’re visiting is legal? There aren’t just consequences for operating an illegal dispensary, if you’re caught shopping in one when a raid happens you can get arrested as well. The good news is that we’re here to make your search for legal dispensaries beyond easy—just use the search bar at the top of any page of the Hopegrown website and you’ll have a list of legal, licensed dispensaries in your area at your fingertips within seconds!

However you choose to celebrate the holiday on April 20th, we hope it’s one to remember! We firmly believe that legalization in California is a huge step towards even more states choosing to legalize cannabis in the future and 4/20 is a fantastic chance for the cannabis community to show the rest of the country how positive and safe cannabis can be.