Santa Fe's dispensaries reported good business on Saturday—a day that's become an unofficial cannabis holiday marked with shopping deals, a sort of Black Friday for green.
What was once an insider's holiday and mostly caught the attention of non-smokers through tossed-off jokes and internet memes has, with the legalization of medicinal cannabis, become a legitimate retail bonanza.
"Happy Easter and Happy 4/20!" one customer shouts to SFR as we drove out of the Ultra Health parking lot on St. Michael's Drive.
Most everybody manning the front desks from Kure to Minerva brag that they began the day with lines out the door. Towards the afternoon, every dispensary we stopped at tells we've just missed the rush.
Even still, plenty of revelers put their medical cards to good use (More than 8,000 Santa Fe patients have them now), and most appeared to be in high spirits. SFR caught up with a few of them to chat about the holiday.
John Reid talks our ear off about legalization politics and stock trading in the cannabis biz, but most of all about "the wonder plant."
"I remember when I walked into my first dispensary in California, it was like 'Whoa!'" Reid says. He continues to speak at a breakneck pace all the way out into the parking lot, faster than SFR could write.
"People say I have a lot of energy," Reid says.
He's a frequent reviewer on Google, and one of his hobbies is to upload photos onto the search website. If you're a patron of any number of Santa Fe's businesses (and especially the dispensaries) you might see him writing under the name John RE.
Jaylene Kost, executive administrative assistant at New MexiCann Natural Medicine, enjoyed some ice cream from the Freezie Fresh Ice Cream Truck that was hanging out in the parking lot off West San Mateo. Also present at New MexiCann was Swine & Bird, one of the food trucks in the Bang Bite family, and a local artist, Arianna Velarde, who was selling some of her work and doing some impromptu sketching between onlookers. Kost says that since the legalization of medicinal cannabis, dispensaries have become a thriving part of the Santa Fe scene.
"We may be the pot shop at the end of the road, but we're part of this community," Kost says.
Corbin Pfeffer is pictured here making his third stop of the day to catch the deals. At Fruit of the Earth on Early Street, for example, the store offered a free pre-roll and select strains for $4.20 per gram.
Our takeaways: The day can be a fun one, even for those who don't partake. We found a friendly crowd ready and willing to crack a joke or share a conversation, and the now-largely legal cannabis trade means that food trucks, barbecues and good music can give even those without a card or without the inclination a chance to hang out in the sun and have a good time.