It is that time of year again. Spring is here the weather (hopefully) is done with daily shifts of 30/40 degrees. While spring is in the air, so is the smell of cannabis. The National Day of Cannabis smoking is next week my friends. Happy 4/20 you 4:20 enthusiasts.
How it Started
What is the significance of 4:20 and 4/20? There are quite a few theories floating around. According to Steven Hager (when he was editor of High Times) a group of Californian teenagers ritualistically smoked marijuana every day at 4:20 pm. The ritual spread, and soon 420 became code for smoking marijuana. This is a very popular theory, but no one knows for sure.
Another theory/belief was that 420 was the California police or penal code for marijuana, but there’s no evidence to support those claims. This is simple to refute and has been refuted. Folks have looked at the past penal codes of California and have found no evidence that that is true. Vox. has reported on this numerous times.
Possibly you have heard that there are 420 active chemicals in marijuana. Thus, the obvious connection to 420 and cannabis. However, according to the National Library of Medicine there are over 500 active chemicals. Therefore another 4:20 rumor bites the dust.
A found a theory I never heard before published by Vox. “A lesser-known possibility comes from the 1939 short story “In the Walls of Eryx” by H.P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Sterling. The story describes “curious mirage-plants” that seemed fairly similar to marijuana and appeared to get the narrator high at, according to his watch, around 4:20”. This story was published in 1939 so that may be the earliest documented link to 420 and cannabis…or a coincidence that can neither be proven or disproven.
It is also unknown when and how the time 4:20 became the date of 4/20 as a day of cannabis celebration. I will not go down the rabbit hole of trying to pin down when the date first started or originated. Sometime in the 1970s 4/20 became a counterculture, almost underground celebration of cannabis.
However, over 50 years later with cannabis legal in most states and medical marijuana being dominated by big business cannabis is no longer seen as a counterculture. Hence, 4/20 is not considered a counterculture or underground phenomena anymore. Before COVID hit it was common to have thousands of people at the concert in DC every year.
While the National Cannabis Festival is canceled once again, there are small and numerous events happening all over the region. The National Cannabis organizers have events on Eventbrite in Maryland, DC, and Richmond Virginia happening over the weekend. Food vendors, flower vendors, and gifts are advertised. In DC numerous events are also being advertised on Eventbrite promoting THC massages, infused meals, strains, and even infused funnel cake and cotton candy.
That sounds like a fun weekend. I have one sobering reality though. Initiative 71 does not allow for the public consumption of cannabis, selling cannabis, or having venues to sell cannabis. I may be a party-pooper, but I am not down for getting snatched up in a raid because folks want to dare the city enforce Initiative 71.
One thing I do appreciate is I will be getting a huge 4:20 package from Select Co-op for the activities. It is 4:20 compliant to transport cannabis and gift cannabis (with no money changing hands..like subscribing to their dibs list). I am getting my 4:20 supplies for 4/20 in advance, so I do not have to worry about any potential 4/20 drama. For more cannabis related news, check out the rest of our articles here. Last but certainly not least, happy 4:20!