The novel Coronavirus has changed the way we live our lives here in Colorado. We’ve been on statewide lockdown with a shelter in place order from Governor Jared Polis since March 25th. Right now the world is a bit topsy turvy: many stores are closed, people are working from home, people previously dubbed “unskilled labor” have become “essential,” we’re escaping back to our houses and apartments to avoid an implacable virus whose only way of slowing is avoiding other humans, and in the biggest reversal of my lifetime marijuana went from illegal to essential in just 8 years time. Honestly, without the cannabis industry, which is the single largest growing job sector in the entire country, Colorado’s economy would be in the tank. According to Leafly’s annual Cannabis Jobs Report, Colorado has 34,705 cannabis jobs as of 2020, and while I have no doubt that number has reduced due to unfortunate closures of small cannabis businesses that went under due to the pandemic, that is still a significant number of people who get to keep their jobs in the midst of a shutdown that has millions of Americans out of work. Plus with the preposterously high tax rates on cannabis–try on Boulder’s 24.14% tax rate on for size–we are still generating a sizeable chunk of tax revenue for the state’s Department of Revenue. And in good news for once, the dispensaries are going to be open for 420.

But how is COVID-19 going to affect 420 and those who celebrate it? Well, for one, you can expect longer lines, not because there will be more shoppers than in previous years, but because people in lines will be spaced six feet apart in an attempt to maintain social distancing. You may not get to wait indoors, especially with the federal regulations in place against establishments at a capacity of more than 10 people at any given time, so depending on the weather it may behoove you to bring a coat or an umbrella for those April showers. You can expect to see people in masks and gloves, shoppers and budtenders alike. So do all us industry workers a solid, and wear whatever personal protective equipment you can, because we’ll be seeing dozens if not hundreds of people on the 20th, and we’d all like to stay healthy, too. Or if you really want to play it safe, order online or ahead in order to limit the amount of time you have to spend out in public.

As always with 420, the deals will be pretty killer. You can take a peek at the 420 Deals we’re running here at Elements Boulder Dispensary for the entire month of April and most specifically the week of 420. Since everyone is trying to avoid transmission of the virus, if you plan on celebrating the big cannabis holiday with a group, we have a few suggestions. First and foremost try to maintain the 6 foot social distancing bubble that everyone has heard about by now, but that’s not always possible in cramped quarters, so maybe take the shindig outside after your session. Second, we highly, highly recommend not sharing paraphernalia. 420 is a very social holiday with lots of people passing blunts back and forth, people ripping bongs together, and sharing bowls around the circle. Not only are your grubby little mitts getting all over the outside of your piece, but you breathe entirely through the whole device, and considering that COVID-19 causes respiratory issues and is spread through the air and potentially saliva, it’s better to play it safe than sorry. And don’t think the old college dorm room standby of lighting the mouthpiece of the pipe after someone else hits it will do a damn thing. The heat of the flame may kill the virus right where the flame contacts the surface, but the entire interior of your piece has been breathed through, so unless you’re cleaning it with a flamethrower inside and out, the piece is still contaminated. A better choice would be letting everyone have their own piece rather than sharing, or better yet get everyone their own doob or pinner, so that once you’re done smoking, there’s no paraphernalia leftover to reuse and potentially be contaminated by. Perhaps best of all would be edibles: that way you’re not inhaling any potential contaminants, and your stomach acid can dissolve the virus handily according to the CDC. 

We also recommend that you only allow yourself or a professional wearing proper personal protective equipment (i.e. mask, gloves, etc.) prepare your cannabis. That is to say, pack your own bowls, roll your own doobs that haven’t been rolled by a budtender wearing protection, and scoop your own dabs. If you allow others to use some of your paraphernalia (preferably without sharing), be sure to sanitize it afterwards. According to the CDC any source of alcohol above 60% dissolves the fatty layer encasing the virus and heat destroys it outright. Therefore if you clean your piece with rubbing alcohol (if you can even find any in a store near you) or sanitize it by dipping it into boiling water for 60 seconds or so, you should be in the clear. 

We all know how to celebrate safely, so this year let’s make sure we all know how to celebrate as safely as possible so we can limit the damage this pandemic causes in our communities and homes. From the Elements family to yours, we hope everybody has a safe, elevated high holiday this year! Happy 420!