San Francisco 4.20-Mile Run Seeks to Change Stoner Stereotypes

More than 300 people came from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to participate in the 420 Games, an effort to stop the stigmatization of cannabis use through athletic events.

“People who use marijuana have been classified as dumb, lazy, stupid people and with this race we’re showing them we’re not what they say we are,” said Jim McAlpine, a snowboard company executive who founded the events last year. “We want to show them we are motivated, athletic members of society.”

With a legalization initiative likely to be on the November 2016 California ballot, it was time to take a stand against misinformation and propaganda against the long-maligned herb, he said.

Michelle Dunsing, 45, has used cannabis for more than two decades and said she participated in the 4.20-mile race in Golden Gate Park to support a lifestyle that is often misunderstood.

“It’s great that people can come out and be themselves,” Dunsing said. “I smoke and clean the house, and I go to work and I’ve raised two beautiful daughters. I’m a productive member of society.”

The 420 Games will continue through the rest of the year, with events throughout California, including a golf tournament in San Jose, a bike cruiser marathon in Orange County and a stand-up paddleboard racing competition in Lake Tahoe later this year.