4/20’s Blazing Origins by Gabriella Indart

As April begins, the hype about the 20th begins to blaze across the nation. This popular day in uneventful April is a where countless of teenagers shout “Blaze it!” throughout schools and many observances are held within parks where people can celebrate cannabis also known as marijuana.

It all began in San Rafael, California 1971 where a group of teenagers, who called themselves the Waldos, caught word of a Coast Guard service member being unable to tend to his plot of marijuana plants by the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard Station. The group then set off with a treasure map to find the plot of illegal cannabis.

They designated the Louis Pasteur statue at the San Rafael High School as a meet up spot, and 4:20 PM was their meeting time. Due to their searches being unsuccessful, “4:20 Louis” then shortened to “4:20” and it eventually came to be used as a general term for pot smoking. Editor of the High Times, Steven Hager learned of their story and publicized it. Hager claimed 4:20 to be the accepted time to consume cannabis and eventually the term caught fire through states.

The origin of 4/20 is called a myth, but it now actively participates in everyday culture including its fair share of trouble. In the popular crime film Pulp Fiction, many of the scenes include clocks being set to 4:20 even when the California legislature codified the medical marijuana law that voters approved. It was named SB420. In other places people have taken it upon themselves to steal anything with 420 on it, such as in Colorado where the Mile Marker 420 on I-70 east of Denver had to be changed to 419.99 in order to stop it from being stolen.

Today, April 20th has become a holiday for people to gather at parks like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to consume cannabis while also being places to advocate the legalization of cannabis.

“I’m a person who searches up the origin of random subjects like why your fingers turn wrinkly in the water, so by now learning the background behind 4/20 I just won’t be shouting down the halls, but instead I’ll be saying a piece of history,” said Daniela Rodriguez, a junior at MLEC.

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