Local Joints, Isla Vista Residents Fire Up for 4/20

— Santa Barbara News

Allegedly, 4:20 p.m. marks the end of the exhausting detention period at some American junior or senior high schools. Some believe 420 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which marijuana burns. Others claim that at 4:20, the hands on an analog clock line up in a downward angle giving the appearance that the face of the clock has a smoking instrument in its “mouth.”

All rumors aside, marijuana aficionados and casual stoners alike draw together every year on April 20 to celebrate the existence of the sticky green plant and the often sought-after mental effects its smoke produces. Today is no exception, as the joint efforts of Isla Vista businesses and the community prepare to observe the unofficial holiday to its full extent.

Not surprisingly, many marijuana and hemp-related businesses do relatively well in the days leading up to and including April 20.

HempWise Manager Reed Olmstead said he expects a busy day at the I.V. store.

“4/20 in the past has always been the busiest day for us – it’s kind of like our Christmas season,” he said.

Olmstead said everything at HempWise, located at 6578 Trigo Rd., will be on sale today, and a band will perform in the parking lot of the business at noon. Olmstead said other establishments in I.V. are also preparing for the rush.

“It seems like a lot of businesses are getting into the spirit [of 4/20],” Olmstead said.

Ads placed in the windows of the Pita Pit, located adjacent to HempWise at 971 Embarcadero Del Mar, encourage passers-by to “come in, buy any pita and get a free pack of rolling papers.”

Patrick Wilkinson, manager and owner of the Pita Pit, said he heard about the events happening at HempWise and decided to partake in the festivities.

“I’ve definitely been inspired by 4/20,” Wilkinson said.

Retail businesses in I.V. will likely not be alone in dealing with increased sales. Local marijuana dealers will see sales increase as shoppers stock up for the day, especially for 4:20 p.m.

An anonymous dealer who moved to Santa Barbara this past year from Texas said he is looking forward to the West Coast way of celebrating 4/20.

“It’s my first 4/20 here in California,” he said. “In Texas it was nothing, but here it’s a big deal. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to it.”

While dealers have their work cut out for them, the buyers will be busy celebrating.

A third-year sociology major – who for privacy reasons asked to be referred to as “The Champ” – plans to buddy up with his friends at the “experienced end of smoking.”

“I will be hanging out with people who have smoked longer than a normal 4/20 smoker,” “The Champ” said. “And I will be going to class.”

Aside from “smoke sessions” and the sale at HempWise, other festivities will be taking place in I.V. throughout the day.

Jacob Roland, president of the UCSB chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the band Seven Leaves will be playing at a house on Del Playa Drive, along with the usual celebratory parties and barbecues around I.V.

Roland said NORML@UCSB is not hosting any specific 4/20 events, but many members will either be attending the concert or the NORML National Conference in San Francisco. He said Tommy Chong of the acting duo Cheech and Chong will be the keynote speaker at the conference, which will cover activism, medical marijuana, political themes and a number of other issues.

Matt Bowman, UC Police Dept. community relations and training officer, said there have been no specific marijuana-related citations handed out at UCSB on 4/20 since 2001. However, he said there have been 68 citations since 4/20 last year for possession of the drug and 52 citations for possession of paraphernalia.

Bowman said the UCPD will not be increasing staff on 4/20 because it only covers the UCSB campus and West Campus area, but the officers are aware of the significance of the day.

Representatives from the I.V. Foot Patrol did not return calls seeking comment on how many marijuana-related offenses the IVFP typically handles on 4/20.

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