Or 4:20pm (if you’re night is just getting started). But, for me, 420 just means smoke em because you can.
The term 420 suggests that there are a couple times in one day that one could choose to partake with cannabis, It’s a time where drug law reform advocates demand the right, liberty and freedom for people to imbibe with cannabis on whatever terms they choose. Whether it be for medical use, at the end of a long day, or to rock out to ones favorite Dead show, we have adopted 420 as the time to overtly express our freedom to ingest cannabis, a plant far safer than alcohol and most over the counter and prescription drugs.
Of course, there is a real story behind 420, and Ryan Grim told us all about it in a great piece he wrote for the Huffington Post in May of 2009. It involves one of the most well known names in cannabis news, Steve Bloom, who owns and writes for Freedom Leaf.
While some people think the term 420 originated from a police code, the association of weed and 420 originated in the 1970s with group of San Rafael High School friends known as the Waldos (because their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school) who used the term in connection with a fall 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about in a nearby forest. They 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 group referred to this plan as "4:20 Louis". After having no success in finding the crop, they eventually shortened their phrase to "4:20", which quickly spread through the early ‘70s stoner culture and has now evolved into a codeword that cannabis consumers use on the daily. 4/20 has become a day that pot smokers all over the world celebrate each April 20th. The day has managed to become something of a national holiday for cannabis consumers everywhere, even in the face of prohibition.
If you are lucky enough to live in a state where marijuana is legal, 420 might be more of a celebration for you. But, for many, 420 is another day to live in fear when trying to safely consume cannabis, which is why we should use this holiday to speak out and advocate for an end to the drug war.
420 is a reminder that many of us are so fearful of cannabis prohibition that we only allow for 60 seconds, twice a day, to even talk about it. For many of us, it reminds us of how we must be vigilant in avoiding the law while trying peacefully consume cannabis. And that our friends of color have been disproportionately affected by these perverse and draconian drug laws.
While there are many reasons to celebrate, let us not forget that we still live under the Federal laws of prohibition, and that all of us should continue to fight for an equal opportunity for everyone to celebrate 420.