But as concerns spread about COVID-19 and local governments began to crack down on large public gatherings, it became increasingly clear there would be no party this April 20. So Sinopoli and his team had to get creative.
"We were thinking of an easy way to do III Joints that could still be innovative and on-brand with the ways that people are interacting right now," he says. "We floated the idea of Zoom parties, but no one gravitated toward that."
The solution? The world's largest puff-puff-pass chain.
Beginning at midnight Sunday, participants around the world can submit a video of themselves accepting a joint from the left side of the frame, puffing a few times, and then passing the joint off-screen to the right. Next, they'll be asked to tag three friends to continue the challenge. All of the videos will be featured on III Points' Instagram profile throughout the 24-hour event.
"I shot my video yesterday, and I did it like three times," Sinopoli says. "I got so high because I took three joints to the face, and the rest of the day I was puffed."
Participants can use the hashtag #iiijointschallenge if they want their videos featured. The person with the most creative video will win two VIP tickets to III Points this fall.
In late March, Sinopoli postponed the music festival, originally scheduled for the first week of May. It's now set for October 16 and 17.
In the meantime, Sinopoli hopes the 4/20 virtual alternative will give people an outlet while cooped up.
"We're a company that predicates on mass gatherings, so this is just something people can do and broadcast to their friends," he says.
Though the in-person III Joints parties were always aboveboard, Sinopoli says, allowing participants to join in remotely means everyone can smoke in the privacy of their homes — especially in places where recreational use has not yet been decriminalized or made legal.
"We were never selling weed or promoting that people do anything illegal," Sinopoli says. "It was more that we like the culture of marijuana, so we sold drinks and charged a cover for the party."
For now, Sinopoli is in Maine, where recreational use is legal. He hopes others will join from various states and countries. Though there's no official record for the world's longest virtual puff-puff-pass, this year's III Joints session just might qualify.
"Now that it's virtual, it can become something a little bigger than what it was," Sinopoli says.
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