Fri, May 29, 2020
∙ READING TIME: 3 MINUTES ∙

The brainchild of Farechild Events founders David Tran and James Zachodni, Chronic Relief itself had been born of the COVID-19 virus – a direct response to the cancellation of Cannabis events around the world, from Spannabis to Hash Bash – and dozens of celebrities had agreed to participate. All proceeds would be donated to Feeding America and most of us had donated our time to the project

I grimaced looking at my watch. Traffic was light due to COVID-19, which had most of the nation on lockdown, but we were running behind. Both Cannabis and media had been deemed essential businesses and we were headed to Atomic Studios in Seattle to shoot what would be a first for us: a five and a half hour long, live 4/20 celebration

Many Cannabis enthusiasts, including myself, had been looking forward to this particular 4/20 for several years.

For only once every hundred years did the celestial alignment culminate in a perfect 4/20/20. For all but a tiny few, this would be the first and last time any of us would ever see it.

I went over the show notes from the passenger seat as Jessica put the pedal to the floor, dancing around the sparse traffic in an attempt to make up time. She had made a Magical Butter pizza for a bit we were doing during the live show, and the bake time had us running late. The studio was buzzing as we arrived. The city of Seattle had been gracious enough to make parking in the entire city free during the pandemic and we hurried to unload the various props we had brought along for the day’s festivities.

I shouted a warning as I hauled a gigantic peli case over the studio threshold – the largest case the company produced and it was packed with marijuana paraphernalia of all types and sizes.

Jessica took her place in front of a large green screen where she would be doing her commentary for the day, while a dozen or more production staff busied themselves tweaking and tuning the main set, which was being given a 4/20 makeover.

This was a first for all of us, especially the Atomic Studio guys who were used to a more corporate tenor and were openly bemused by the goings on in the studio that day.

The production coordinator’s voice broke the silence in my earbuds.

“Three minutes! Butts in seats!” Steven said urgently. I took my place next to Fred, professional auctioneer and my co-host for the auspicious live reveal of “Chronic Relief.”

The brainchild of Farechild Events founders David Tran and James Zachodni, Chronic Relief itself had been born of the COVID-19 virus – a direct response to the cancellation of Cannabis events around the world, from Spannabis to Hash Bash – and dozens of celebrities had agreed to participate. All proceeds would be donated to Feeding America and most of us had donated our time to the project, including myself.

As the producer announced go time and the cameras went live, the adrenaline and weed took over. The next five hours were a blur as we partied in 4:20 across three different time zones. From Whoopi Goldberg to Tommy Chong and Dub FX, the star studded show went off without a hitch. For most of us we just wanted a way to be together – to us, Cannabis was community.

A cheer went off in the studio as DJ Cide played us out and Stephen called cut, ending what for many had been weeks of preparation and hard work. The virus may have had us in lockdown but technology was helping to bridge the gap.

With matching funds we raised over 100,000 meals for Feeding America. At a time when the nation was strapped for cash, Cannabis still had something to give. Maybe we weren’t just so-called ‘stupid stoners’ after all…

story by jonah tacoma @dabstars2.0 for leaf nation | photos by jess larue @jessicalarue_420