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Denver 4.20K race aims to break stigma of the 'lazy stoner,' show marijuana's medical value

Inspired by their mom, who uses medical marijuana to help chronic pain, a family organized a 4.20K race at Sloan's Lake to change the perception of marijuana.

DENVER — The images many might associate with the cannabis celebrations on April 20 in Colorado might involve a cloud of smoke lingering above a group hanging out in Civic Center Park.

But there’s more to the story, and it’s one that mother Debbie Lanford wants to tell. She was diagnosed with lupus, arthritis and numerous other diseases when she was 32. Though she was prescribed drugs by doctors, she said she became inactive and couldn’t play with her kids.

“I was in bed and I was drugged up with opioids,” Lanford said.

Five years ago, she said her life changed when her kids recommended she use cannabis to help her pain. She said this completely changed her life for the better.

“I can rub it, I can spray it, I can just be relieved and get quality relief and relaxation,” Lanford said. “I am not in this frame of mind where I’m going to let the pain control me, I’m going to control it.”

What Lanford characterized as a “bad rep” around using cannabis for pain led her family to organize the Mile High 4.20K on Saturday.

The goal is to raise awareness for marijuana's medical purposes, as well as to promote a healthy lifestyle in general.

Lanford’s kids, Erica Shutts and Jonathan Lobato, said the goal of the race is to, in part, break the stigma that people who use marijuana aren’t just “lazy stoners.”

“The more that we can put on events like this, we can educate our community, and fill people in, and give them options,” Shutts said.

The 4.2 kilometer course in Sloan’s Lake was measured by Lobato, who said they really organized the educational part of the event, including promoting CBD.

“It helps a lot of people, so it’s like, why not?” Lobato said.

Some of the proceeds from the race go to nonprofits, including a scholarship the family created called JEM that helps Colorado students.

For more information on the cause, go to: https://bit.ly/2vdYXT0

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