|Panorama of the 2010 420 cannabis event at University of Colorado at Boulder.|
420, 4:20 or 4/20 (pronounced four-twenty) refers to consumption of cannabis and, by extension, a way to identify oneself with cannabis subculture. The notable day for these is April 20. (Not to be confused with J-Day, an international protest held on the first Saturday of May.)
April 20 (4/20 in U.S. date notation) has evolved into a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Some events have a political nature to them, advocating for the decriminalization of non-medical cannabis in the United States.
The term was allegedly coined by a group of teenagers in San Rafael, California in 1971. Calling themselves the Waldos, because "their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school," the group first used the term in connection to a fall 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 p.m. as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase "4:20 Louis". Multiple failed attempts to find the crop eventually shortened their phrase to simply "4:20", which ultimately evolved into a codeword the teens used to mean pot-smoking in general.
High Times Creative Director Steven Hager was the first person to track down the Waldos and publish their account of the origins of the term. Hager wrote "Are You Stoner Smart or Stoner Stupid?" (October 1998) in which he called for 4:20 p.m. to be the socially accepted hour of the day to consume cannabis. "I believe 420 is a ritualization of cannabis use that holds deep meaning for our subculture," wrote Hager. "It also points us in a direction for the responsible use of cannabis."
So, better late than never, here's an update from the Marijuana Policy Project:
Here’s a quick snapshot of MPP’s legislative accomplishments in just the past week — and how your donations actually change marijuana laws. Would you please donate today, so that we can maintain this legislative juggernaut?
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Mayor Vincent Gray announced that he will issue final regulations to implement the local D.C. medical marijuana law. As a result, five establishments will soon start selling marijuana to patients within a couple miles of Capitol Hill.
MARYLAND — The Maryland Legislature is about to pass MPP’s bill to remove the threat of conviction for patients who prove in court that their marijuana use was medical in nature. Aides of Gov. Martin O’Malley have said publicly he would sign our bill.
VERMONT — The Vermont Senate passed MPP’s bill to authorize four dispensaries. The bill is highly likely to pass the House and be signed by Gov. Pete Shumlin, who MPP helped elect this past November.
COLORADO — We just drafted a ballot initiative to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado. Assuming we can raise the money that’s needed for the signature drive this year, we’ll place this initiative on the November 2012 ballot.
ARIZONA — The head of the state health department spoke at MPP’s training forums in Tucson and Phoenix for entrepreneurs who are thinking about opening medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona.
NEW JERSEY — The state health department announced the six organizations that will be growing and selling medical marijuana to patients in New Jersey.
MAINE — Eight dispensaries have received permits to sell marijuana to patients in Maine.
Because of MPP’s dues-paying members, we’re making progress and changing laws. The government spends more money waging the drug war in one hour than MPP spends on its entire agenda in a full year, so ...
WASHINGTON — Earlier this week, the Washington House of Representatives passed SB 5073 – a bill that would require the Departments of Health and Agriculture to license medical marijuana dispensaries, producers, and processors. It came to light that the U.S. Attorneys for Eastern and Western Washington, Michael Ormsby and Jenny Durkan, told Governor Chris Gregoire the federal government could go after state-regulated providers if the bill becomes law. People are emailing Gov. Gregoire, asking her to stand up for Washingtonians by signing this bill despite the saber rattling of these rouge USAs.
The Obama administration has made it clear: the Justice Department should “not prosecute individuals who are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws." In accordance with this policy directive, the U.S. Attorneys in states with medical marijuana laws that clearly allow for regulated medical marijuana dispensaries – Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Arizona, and Washington, D.C. – have neither cracked down on dispensaries, nor have they threatened to do so. Why should Washington be any different? Gov. Gregoire should sign this bill into law and give Washington patients what they want and need – safe, reliable access to their medicine.
Gov. Gregoire’s communities have called for regulation and control. Many are asking her to deliver by signing SB 5073.
Marijuana Policy Project