LA Set to Host 420 Games

420 Games Cannabis Now Magazine

Eighteen months after its incarnation the 420 Games has found itself as the go to event for cannabis users living an active lifestyle and, with a larger than ever tour planned for 2016, more big strides are expected.

To kick off 2016, the 420 Games will invade Los Angeles hosting the first ever cannabis event at the historic Santa Monica Pier. Organizers are expecting the race portion to have over 2,000 participants, doubling last year’s attendance in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Runners will wind a 4.20 mile oceanside course, with views second to none in the cannabis athletics community. While thousands of runners will take part, event founder Jim McAlpine is most excited to see the message’s impact on the surrounding community noting, “while we expect 2,000 at the event, 50,000 are going to see this run and it’s going to make a big impression on them.”

Runners will also have the chance to compete against a 420 Games sponsored athlete. The upcoming event will feature former UFC Light Heavyweight Kyle “Kingsbu” Kingsbury. After a 20-year athletic career that started on football field at 10 years old, he moved on to division one NCAA football at Arizona State University and finally ended in the UFC in 2014. Kingsbury has surely taken his fair share of knocks and bruises.

“To say my body has taken a toll is an understatement. Many nights I laid awake in bed with body parts throbbing. I would routinely take 4 ibuprofen before every practice and many times before bed,” said Kingsbury. “I had no idea what kind of damage this stuff caused the stomach and intestinal lining. As medical marijuana became more popular I always has an interest in the science behind it.”

As the research around cannabis continued to progress, Kingsbury found himself looking at a new option to deal with the years of torment he put his body through to compete at the highest levels of football and mixed martial arts.

“Thanks to living in California I was able to get a medical card and over time I fine tuned the best ways to consume for myself. I have since completely eliminated all NSAIDs and pain pills,” he said. “I use CBD and THC concentrates for vaporizing, and edibles depending on what mood I’m in. I have found both to be extremely effective in helping sleep better and wake up well rested. In addition to improved sleep my joint pain and inflammation are at an all time low.”

While retired, Kingsbury hails from a sport with some of the harshest penalties for those caught with THC in their system. Recently the Nevada State Athletic Commission handed down a 5-year suspension to California native Nick Diaz for failing a post fight drug test. His opponent, former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, tested positive for multiple anabolic steroids and received a one-year suspension. While Diaz’s suspension has now been appealed down to 18 months, it still goes to show the level of scrutiny athletes in the MMA world face for having cannabis in their system.

“The Nick Diaz situation is about as gross an injustice as we’ve seen in sport,” said Kingsbury, while also noting one should look between the lines when analyzing the Diaz situation in particular. “If you look closer at the Diaz positive test he failed one out of three tests. You need to fail two out of three for it to be a positive test. Clearly there are some people who don’t like Diaz making the calls here. Most fighters are afraid to speak about cannabis in a positive manner for that reason. Nobody wants to be blacklisted.”

The 420 Games crew is excited to turnaround the negative tide surrounding cannabis and sports by taking the act on the road this year. After the LA kickoff on March 26, they will host stops in Seattle in July, San Francisco in August, Boulder in October, and finally a Portland stop in late October. A Denver event is also tentatively scheduled for September, but as seen with other events, the municipality collecting more legal cannabis tax dollars than any other is a difficult place to hold an event around the plant these days.

“Denver so far is the most difficult place to put an event on. I found it interesting the place you would presume the most progressive is actually the most restrictive,” said McAlpine.

Looking past the challenges in Denver, McAlpine is looking forward to this year’s confirmed stop in Colorado as he went to school in Boulder returning, “25 years later to legalized cannabis.”

“Going back to where I got my education and seeing how world changed was a positive experience,” he said, noting he’s also excited to get his former fraternity heavily involved with this year’s event.

Next year the 420 Games plans on expanding its U.S. Schedule and hold their first international event.

“We’re intending to go national with stops in Chicago and NY, we already have a date in Vancouver,” said McAlpine.

McAlpine is most excited to take the 420 Games active lifestyle message to places that are far from bastions of cannabis reform.

“I can’t wait to do this and Texas and Arkansas. Words mean nothing to a lot of people, and athleticism is worth 10,000 words,” he said. “Using athleticism instead of words with some people is a lot more effective. When you use athleticism and can’t be refuted you’re going to change minds within that group of people.”

The 420 Games is offering 50% off the Los Angeles event for Cannabis Now readers. To redeem, purchase your tickets here.

Do cannabis and athletic activities go hand-in-hand for you? Tell us about your experiences.

Jimi Devine has been involved in the cannabis movement since 2005, and joined the industry full time in 2009 after moving to the Bay Area from Boston. He currently works with Smell the Truth on SFGate,The Hash Podcast, and was involved in the organization of New West Summit in San Francisco last Fall. His writings on cannabis products and policy have been seen in The Boston Globe, SFGate, The Hill, The Chronicle of Higher Education, StopTheDrugWar.org, and HailMaryJane.com.