520 in the Five-Two-Oh

Be part of Tucson’s newest annual marijuana celebration

Even before marijuana culture started entering the mainstream, mentioning 420 usually elicited an eyeroll from those who considered cannabis part of their everyday life and didn't need a holiday to celebrate it.

Now, it serves as a rallying cry, both between people looking to find others who partake in smoking pot and as a symbol around which the industry can demonstrating its legitimacy by removing (and enforcing some of) the stigma around marijuana use.

And why shouldn't we celebrate marijuana culture? After all, holidays like St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo rest on forgotten or overstated cultural significance as an excuse to get blackout drunk while the sun's out, and alcohol has been legal for 80 years.

However, there may still be some holdouts who feel like the 420 shtick gets overplayed, and for them, Aari Ruben at the Desert Bloom dispensary has the answer.

Ruben thinks Southern Arizona has a unique opportunity based on the similarity of the 520 area code to the universal digits of dope, and he wants to turn May 20 into our own local celebration of the greenest plant in the Sonoran Desert.

"We're thinkin' 5/20 in the five-two-oh will be a cool Southern Arizona tradition for years to come," he said.

This Sunday, Ruben will host yet another event much like the ones many of you attended last month at the Musselman Honda Circuit down by the Pima County Fairgrounds from noon to 6 p.m.

If you missed the first round of products on sale or didn't get enough of what Arizona medical marijuana has to offer, here's your second chance.

Ruben feels a little left out of the 420 celebrations because most of the festivities happen in Phoenix where the majority of Arizona dispensaries are centralized. Combined with the general chaos that comes with 420 events, Ruben thought it difficult to coordinate a regional event with everyone so focused on their own promotions.

He hopes to make 520 a collective effort from dispensaries around the region.

"It'll become a big festival-style hippie party with a focus on the Southern Arizona cannabis industry," he said.

Some local vendors came together to sponsor the event and keep it free to patients and the general public alike.

O.penVAPE, a Colorado-based vape company that sells products in Arizona will handout free samples. Local edible, extract and topical company Firebrand Infusions is sure to have some goodies as well.

Several certification centers like Dr. Reeferalz, Tumbleweeds Health Center and Natural Healing Care Center will attend to help take care of everything you need to stay or become legal in Arizona.

Arizona's NORML chapter can fill you in on all the recent legislation at the capitol and tell you how to get involved in making marijuana legal for all.

Food trucks will help sate your munchies after some "420-style" games that will keep your bud burning all day long.

This year, Bloom dispensary up on the northside was the only other dispensary to take Ruben up on his offer to celebrate Southern Arizona schwag.

"We haven't really been a part of any of the celebrations in Tucson," said general manager Brianda Valdez, "and we're just excited to engage in the community and get our name out there."

Ruben thinks the problem is that some dispensaries see the 520 celebration as a cause to promote his brand, but he wants to emphasize that this is about the Southern Arizona marijuana industry, not just Desert Bloom.

While Desert Bloom will host the party, and their products will definitely be available for sampling and purchasing, make sure to check out all the event has to offer and help make 520 Tucson's best marijuana tradition.

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