While the number 4/20 may not mean anything to you, April 20th is a day for celebration among both cannibis culture activists and your average everyday stoners. (The more dedicated of these folks may also take a daily time-out at 4:20… hey, who said stoners were lazy?… so anyone wishing to teach meaningfully at Humbolt might consider scheduling morning classes.)
The origin of the 420 number has been subject to much speculation, with one of the more popular myths being that it’s the penal code for pot smoking. The real story is that the 420 term originated in a Marin County forest in the early ’70′s, with a group of high school kids that were hanging around with the Grateful Dead. Somehow, everyone’s memories are somewhat spotty as to who exactly coined the term and how exactly it spread, but Wavy Gravy perhaps put it best when he guessed that the term began “somewhere in the foggy mists of time. What time is it now? I say to you: eternity now.”
Right on, Wavy Gravy.
It seems fitting that this worldwide holiday has its origins in Northern California, which is to this day a hub of medical marijuana activism. California has already legalized medical marijuana (Mark Leno’s SB420 was aptly numbered), and now State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has drafted California AB390, which seeks to legalize marijuana in California in order that the state regulate and tax it. With estimates that California sells $14B of weed a year (that’s 30% of the money raised by dairy production, and California is the country’s largest dairy producer), analysts and pot experts guess that tax revenues would be somewhere between $1 and $2.5 billion a year for the state.
We at CafePress have been working with NORML for years now, and we asked them what they’re celebrating this year. Allen St. Pierre, the Executive Director, had this to say:
“April 20 has become the official cannabis consumer holiday in the United States and around the world! NORML celebrates by offering supporters the opportunity to join at a special one-day only price of $4.20, convenes big public protests around the US and this year launches a nationwide TV ad campaign in favor of cannabis legalization.
Additionally, the recent election of Barack Obama and the signals he’s provided regarding reforms he favors for cannabis, along with unprecedented mainstream media outlets covering of ‘4/20’ will make this the most momentous 4/20 to date—which all bodes well for reform efforts.”
Happy 4/20, everyone.