Throwback Post: Ten Years of 420



Welcome to Cannabis Camera’s first throwback post!

As owner and lead photographer of Cannabis Camera, I’ve been documenting 420 celebrations in Denver for over ten years now and saw this week as a great opportunity to not only launch Cannabis Camera’s new website, but also share one of my favorite images from each of those ten years in one simple post… a simple post that has been ten years in the making and gives just a small glimpse into the level of growth the Colorado cannabis community has experienced.

When I think back about past 420 celebrations in Denver, I am nostalgic. It’s a bittersweet feeling. I miss the way people just came together naturally… no advertisements, event organizers, or promoters… no sponsors, no vendors, no permits and no acts required on-stage except maybe a few motivated activists with a megaphone. I miss those days, but am happy for the progress that has been made and realize that progress is just another word for change and with change comes even more change… and sometimes, change is difficult.

When I originally decided to share this photo essay during the week of April 20th 2016, I had no idea how disappointing this week would turn out for so many of Colorado’s cannabis community and the thousands of tourists who might travel here to experience a little taste of freedom.

With a relocated Cannabis Cup, a “rescheduled” 420 Rally and so many frustrated business owners, event organizers, consumers and tourists, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture and feel like we’re moving backwards… we’re not moving backwards, just experiencing natural growing pains that would come with any shift of this magnitude (and a poorly timed snowstorm). It’s easy to forget that we’re still experiencing a huge change in culture, an enormious explosion in industry and radical turn in government policies – all at once.

This series of images, to me, is less about looking back at how things were, and more about taking the opportunity to reflect upon how far we’ve come and most importantly, where we want to be in the future. We’ve come along way, but still have so much work to do. Please enjoy the week, celebrate the holiday and all the progress we’ve made, but don’t forget to pick up the torch once the 420 smoke clears and keep fighting to move forward.

The voters of this state intended to regulate cannabis in a similar manner to alcohol, which means permitted cannabis events and licensed consumption locations (like bars and “beerfests”). There is no reason “public use” should be defined any differently with cannabis than it is with alcohol. If you live in Denver, please consider volunteering to gather signatures for the Responsible Use Denver Campaign and if you’re not registered to vote… for ganja’s sake, DO IT NOW!

Click “next”  below to view photos from the last ten year’s worth of 420 celebrations, but first follow Cannabis Camera on Facebook and sign up for our email list below so you’ll be in the loop for a ton of new images coming soon… I’ll be posting more of my favorite moments from the past as well as my new commercial work, event coverage and documentary photography moving forward. Thanks for stopping by!

Kim Sidwell, Owner of Cannabis Camera

Thank you!