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Provincetown Celebrates 4/20

by Steve Desroches

Growing up in Seattle, Mackenzie Miller remembers her first 4/20 holiday quite well. While of course not officially a holiday, April 20 as a counter-cultural celebration of cannabis has grown exponentially since five high-school students started the tradition in San Rafael, California, in 1971 when they agreed to meet at 4:20 p.m. to hunt for a mythological lost marijuana crop. The phrase “4:20” evolved as youth slang for smoking weed, and thus the date in April became associated with this act of civil disobedience, celebrated with mass gatherings of people consuming cannabis in public.  So when Miller, who is an up-and-coming drag performer, saw lines of people ensconced in a smoky haze waiting to see a drag show on 4/20 in Seattle’s gayborhood of Capitol Hill, she knew she had found a home in more ways than one.

In honor of the high holiday Miller co-wrote 4/20 Heeennny 2.0 HD with his friend, stand-up comic Austin Tyler, resurrecting the celebration of 4/20 in Provincetown, something he introduced to the Outer Cape in 2019 and of course was then interrupted by the pandemic. And oh how things have changed since then, as Provincetown now has four cannabis dispensaries with three more potentially on the way, signifying the high demand for marijuana products and making 4/20 an obvious cultural match for a town where even when it was illegal cannabis was ubiquitous. Miller’s show, featuring a dozen guest stars, including Qya Cristal, Roxy Pops, Anne Hutchinson, and Lady Prism, will turn Paramount at the Crown and Anchor into an immersive, trippy world in this scripted variety show.

Laganja Estranja Photo: Jon Sams

“We created this nostalgic eight-bit arcade world,” says Miller. “My parents didn’t know I was smoking marijuana, and the best way to hide it was playing video games. They just thought I was really into the games, like Pac Man and on and on. So we created an immersive show that feels like you’re in a video game, one in which the object is I’m trying to find my weed.”

She clearly isn’t the only one looking for marijuana, as tax revenue shows that the newly legal cash crop is now a significant part of Provincetown’s economy (local tax receipts show the first four quarters of legal marijuana sales in town topped $10 million in sales with $610,000 going directly to the town). That’s in large part why the 4/20 holiday is growing in Provincetown with the Pilgrim House hosting the 4:20 Extravaganja with RuPaul’s Drag Race alum and marijuana activist Laganja Estranja as the host. Estranja, portrayed by Jay Johnson, attracted legions of fans for not just her extraordinary death drops, but also her cannabis aesthetic as a performer often incorporating pot leaves into her green drag palette. But what may have initially been received as a gimmick soon proved to be activism.

“I was first introduced to cannabis as a medicine and that’s how I still view it,” says Johnson. “I wasn’t introduced to it as a party drug or an escape. I was using it to get more into my mind. I’m from the South, where beauty queens are a big deal and they have platforms. I chose cannabis as mine. Where I grew up it was called the ‘devil’s lettuce’ and if you consumed it your life would be ruined. I use my platform to show that is not the case.”


Johnson made her Provincetown debut at Showgirls last summer when she was in town making an appearance on behalf of PAX, a cannabis vaporizer company that was holding a series of events in town. Coming back was a goal, and she’ll do so at the Pilgrim House appearing with the drag comedy duo Madge & Bisket, piano man Mac McAssey, and comedians Kristen Becker, Bailey Pope, and Dan Frank in a variety show that is a fundraiser for the Provincetown Business Guild’s LGBTQ+ Center.

“You can expect style, stunts, and shenanigans,” says Johnson. “You can expect high energy, pun intended. Everyone knows I know how to make an entrance.”

It should be noted that the consumption of marijuana is not allowed at any public accommodation where tobacco is also prohibited. That’s no problem for Miller. Sitting in her Nelson Avenue home she glances over at an ambitious pair of neon green platform heels, each festooned with a silver pot leaf. Get high and perform in those?! Ah, no, says Miller. She’s strictly a nightcap stoner, as she needs to be focused to pull off what she has planned for 4/20.

“That’s the irony of the show,” says Miller. “I can’t touch the stuff until after the show.”

The 4:20 Extravaganja is at the Pilgrim House, 336 Commercial St., on Wednesday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($25) are available at the box office and online at For more information call 508.487.6424. The 4/20 Heeennny 2.0 HD show is at the Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St. on Wednesday, April 20, Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets ($35) are available at the box office and online at For more information call 508.487.1430.

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Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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