Waldos Forever Fest: Marijuana festival held in Chicago on 4/20

marijuana smokers
4/20 marijuana festival held in Chicago. Pic credit: The560K/Wikimedia Commons

The 2nd annual 4/20 Waldos Forever Fest is taking place in the Andersonville neighborhood at the intersection of Argyle and Clark streets on Chicago’s North Side on Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

April 20 or 4/20 as the date for the annual festival is a nod to the slang “420” in reference to smoking weed. The term reportedly originated in the 1970s when a group of Northern California teenagers began meeting regularly at 4:20 p.m. after classes to smoke weed together.

Organizers said they expect more than 3,500 people to attend the festival this year. This is more than double the number of people who attended last year, according to ABC 7 Chicago (WLS-TV).

Admission to the festival is free, organizers said.

WLS-TV reports that an entire block of West Argyle Street near North Clark Street will be shut down for the festival. Food, entertainment and educational materials about marijuana use, products, brands, and information about local laws, will be available at the outdoor festival.

The event is sponsored and organized by Chicago Cannabis Alliance, Do312. and other top players in the Illinois cannabis industry. The fair is focused on educating the people of Illinois about pot use.

Smoking marijuana at the venue of the event is prohibited, according to the organizers.

“4/20 has become like a Black Friday kind of holiday for the cannabis market,” Lisa Hurwitz, chief marketing and innovation officer at  Grassroots Cannabis, said, according to Chicago Tribune.

Only people with a medical marijuana card can legally use marijuana in Illinois, but Illinois lawmakers are reportedly drafting a bill to make the drug legal for recreational use statewide.

“The more accepted and less stigmatized it is, the better off we’ll be. Because at the end of the day, it’s helping people,” said Jake Bradley who holds a medical marijuana card.

“We are seeing new people every day. And with the festival coming up this weekend, our phone has been ringing off the hook. People have wanted to talk about it all week,” said Paul Lee, the manager at the medical marijuana Dispensary 33 at the corner of Argyle and Clark where the festival is taking place.

Three Legged Tacos and Chicago Lunchbox will have food trucks at the venue. Big Freedia, Chicago hip-hop group Air Credits, White Mystery, and Tatiana Hazel, will provide live music. There will also be DJs and stand-up comics to enliven the occasion.

The festival is named after The Waldos, the Northern California teenage group that started the 4/20 festival in the 1970s.

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