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A Holiday for Weed Fans, Complete With Corporate Sponsors

In the culture of cannabis, April 20 is a high holiday when those who partake light up in enjoyment and in protest of prohibition.

Although the origins of “4/20” are debated — according to popular lore, a group of California high school students in the 1970s met after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke weed — the day has been globally celebrated for years.

Until recently in New York, celebrations carried the risk of arrest or fines, so they would often take place in secret locations or places where the authorities were somewhat lenient, like Washington Square Park. Smoke-ins were sometimes staged as a form of protest. In 2020, the police busted a pot party in Manhattan, not because people were smoking weed but because they were flouting social-distancing rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

But since the state legalized marijuana in 2021 and lifted pandemic restrictions, the protests have largely subsided. And a growing number of celebrations — some with brand sponsors — have emerged, catering to users new and old as well as people who are just “canna-curious.”

This year, as the state’s legal cannabis industry has expanded and cannabis use has gained acceptance, the variety of events has expanded. In addition to private parties and smokeouts, there are comedy shows and block parties. Happy Munkey, an events company, is hosting a cruise aboard a Hornblower vessel.

Not all events are focused on consuming cannabis. A workshop at MARY Fest, a new event in Brooklyn whose name plays on one of weed’s monikers, Mary Jane, teaches participants how to grow cannabis at home. Upside Pizza collaborated with Gotham, a dispensary on the Bowery in Lower Manhattan, on a secret menu. And Trends, a dispensary on Long Island, is streaming the N.B.A. playoffs and serving chicken wings.

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