Annual 420 marijuana holiday celebration lights up in the U.S. and Canada- Take the poll



All about 4/20 marijuana holiday

By The Associated Press

Students and others across the country have long observed April 20 as a day to celebrate marijuana. Here are some questions and answers about the counterculture holiday and the state of marijuana in the United States:



The observation is shared by marijuana users from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to New York’s Greenwich Village. Last year, some 10,000 people gathered at the University of Colorado-Boulder to simultaneously smoke marijuana. This year, the university is shutting down a campus quad that hosts the annual 4/20 gathering. Organizers say the protest may be moved to a nearby off-campus neighborhood, which could cause clashes between police and protesters. A rally is planned for Denver near the state capitol on Friday and Saturday. Police have suggested they’ll be taking a hands-off approach to the gathering, which could draw tens of thousands of people. In Austin, Texas, country music legend Willie Nelson, who’s open about his marijuana use, was expected to help unveil an 8-foot statue of himself in downtown Austin at 4:20 p.m. local time.


The number 420 has been associated with marijuana use for decades, though its origins are murky. Its use as code for marijuana spread among California pot users in the 1960s and spread nationwide among followers of the Grateful Dead. Like most counterculture slang, theories abound on its origin. Some say it was once police code in Southern California to denote marijuana use (probably an urban legend). It was a title number for a 2003 California bill about medical marijuana, an irony fully intended. Others trace it to a group of California teenagers who would meet at 4:20 p.m. to search for weed (a theory as elusive as the outdoor cannabis crop they were seeking). Yet the code stuck for obvious reasons: Authorities and nosy parents didn’t know what it meant.


In 1996, a ballot measure made California the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Sixteen states now allow the use of medicinal marijuana.


Two states — Colorado and Washington — are considering legalizing pot for recreational purposes.


Marijuana use, sale and possession are illegal under federal law.




What do you think?


Annual 420 celebration lights up UC Santa Cruz

By Stephen Baxter 
Santa Cruz Sentinel 

SANTA CRUZ – Throngs of red-eyed marijuana fans cheered at the strike of 4:20 p.m. Friday in celebration of the annual 420 event at UC Santa Cruz. Then a cloud of smoke billowed into the air.

Music, conversation and a hot afternoon greeted more than 2,000 people at Porter College Meadow. Temperatures reached 84 degrees and sent participants searching for shade under a grove of trees.

“I think it’s a good thing, apart from just smoking,” said Ever Barraza, a senior sociology major. “Society looks down on drugs in general, but this is something where everyone can just come and get along.”

Contrary to that vibe, UCSC officials stressed that the event is unsanctioned and unwelcome. It brings outsiders on to campus and snarls traffic and parking, said UCSC spokesman Jim Burns.

A 28-year-old, who is not a student, was arrested about 1:30 p.m. on suspicion of felony possession of marijuana for sale, said UCSC Police Chief Nader Oweis.

An officer spotted Isaac Collins of Santa Cruz in Porter College Meadow openly selling marijuana and marijuana-laced food, Oweis said. Authorities did not disclose how much cannabis was found on him.

While hundreds of students smoked freely in the meadow, about a dozen were cited for marijuana possession during traffic stops on campus roads, Burns said.

The heat may have drawn more people to the event, police said.

“It’s cooking today,” said UCSC police Sgt. Mark Larson.

Authorities said about 20 police were on campus, including extra officers from other University of California campuses and California Highway Patrol. Burns estimated that presence cost $15,000.

“It costs us money we really don’t have,” Burns said of the event.

“Our priority at this point is really just public safety. We would rather the event go away, but our No. 1 priority with that many people here is that no one gets hurt.”

Stereos played Sublime and The Doors. Young women in bikinis swung hula hoops and smoked out of bongs and pipes. They passed around joints.

Some came for the spectacle.

“I came to watch people be goofy,” said Rebecca Gonzalez, a junior. “It’s kind of fun to watch.”

One of the myths of the origin of 420 is that it is a police code for marijuana smoking in progress. In fact, a group of San Rafael students coined the term in the early 1970s after they habitually met at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana.

The time and date stuck. The date became an international holiday for marijuana.

Willie, a senior engineering student, celebrated by smoking weed in the shade wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses and a T-shirt.

“I’m feeling great,” said Willie. He declined to give his last “I probably smoked like three joints today,” he said.

The first came at 4:20 a.m., the latest at 4:20 p.m. What was it like to smoke pot at 4:20 a.m. on 4/20?

“It’s about a 12-hour time difference,” he said.


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