The Washington Post

4 20: A huge celebration with a lot of (illegal) substance

Marijuana: Little weed, big celebration (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Known as 420, 4:20 or 4/20 on April 20, today refers to a widespread pledge among cannabis users to better familiarize themselves with cannabis culture.

“High Times” Creative Director (best job ever?) Steven Hager attempted to explain the day’s purpose in 1998:

I believe 420 is a ritualization of cannabis use that holds deep meaning for our subculture. It also points us in a direction for the responsible use of cannabis.

Considering the fact that some 16.7 million Americans have used marijuana, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you how aligning oneself with the “deep meaning” of this subculture is done.

Just inhale.

In fact, let’s all take a second to breathe in the wacky fact that open celebrations are taking place over a substance that is still illegal — although in some cases just on par with a minor traffic violation — in every state.

Illegal or not, the fact is that weed is mainstream, and it’s hard to imagine American popular culture without it. What would Cheech and Chong be without their bongs? Harold and Kumar without the dope-fueled White Castle run? President Bill Clinton without inhaling? Willie Nelson without his vaporizer?

But even as clouds openly waft over today’s red-eyed revelers, the battle over whether or not to legalize marijuana still wages across America. Progress — however you’d define the word — varies drastically from state to state. In Maine, officials introduced a bill that would legalize and tax marijuana, under the guise of recognizing “the world as it is.”Meanwhile, in New Jersey, state attorney general Paula Dow wants to know whether or not the state’s medical marijuana program violates federal law.

(And, if any of you locals were curious, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced last week that the District’s medical marijuana program will finally be established after the city council approved it in May 2010.)

It’s impossible to find a historically-accurate recalling as to why this “holiday”got its start as anything other than Hitler’s birthday — anyone who would’ve been around to witness the birth of “4 20”was surely buried nose-deep in a bag of Funyuns.

Is this day worth the attention? It’s impossible to tell. All I know is that a lot of people are talking about it.

Do you think marijuana should be legal? Tell us using #420yes or #420no, and we’ll post your replies back into this blog.

In the meantime, enjoy this retro marijuana PSA, courtesy of BuzzFeed:


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