4/20 National Weed Day: Will It Soon Be Legal?

April 20th, 2010 - 8:39 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

marijuana Apr 20 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Today is April 20. When said in that way, the date doesn’t seem to mean much, unless you happen to know that it is Hitler’s birthday. But change it up a bit, say it as “4/20″ and the day takes on a meaning all it’s own. The term ‘4/20′ becomes ‘4:20′ and as most people know, 4:20 means, “Let’s go smoke the good stuff.” It is “National Pot Smoking Day” or “National High Day” or “National Weed Day” among other titles that cannabis lovers have dubbed the day they set aside to celebrate this controversial herb.

The origins of the urban meaning for 4:20 is not clear. One of the theories which was printed in the San Francisco Chronicle says it came from a group of students. Wikipedia also favors this explanation. According to the story written by Steven Hager, the editor of “High Times” Magazine, stated that the term “420″ actually got it’s start at San Rafael High School in 1971. About 6 or 7 pot smokers would unite at a statue of Louis Pastuer at 4:20 in the afternoon. Pretty soon, in order to keep their purpose a secret, they would just say “It’s 4:20″ anytime they were going to get high. They became known as “The Waldo’s” because they all hung out by the wall after school.

A story written by Ryan Grim claimed that he had interviews with a few of the Waldo’s anonymously and they say that they met by the statue everyday to go and look for a crop of abandoned cannibus which they had heard was growing near the campus. Although they never found the stash, they smoked a lot of weed looking for it.The use of the term spread among members of an entire generation through various vehicles like the music of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Other versions say 420 originated from a police dispatch code that identified pot smokers or that 420 was the number of chemical compounds that are found in pot.

If you didn’t previously know the meaning of 4:20 (I didn’t until my late 20’s) you are among a dwindling number of Americans. The meaning of 4:20 is no longer whispered among pot smoking friends. ‘Potheads’ are they are called, are coming out of the closet everywhere. Here are a couple of quotes from well known people on the subject:

Willie Nelson, a known pot smoker said, “I think people need to be educated to the fact that marijuana is not a drug. Marijuana is an herb and a flower. God put it here. If He put it here and He wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong?”

Instead of taking five or six of the prescriptions, I decided to go a natural route and smoke marijuana. -Melissa Etheridge

Even those who are not in support of smoking the herb has now decided that legalization is the best way to handle it. America is in a deficit and some are saying that we have two choices: take the people who are smoking weed and lock them in jail, and by doing that we pay for their food, give them a place to live, and keep them out of work. Or, legalize weed, and tax it. The argument is that the ones who wish to smoke weed are going to do so either way. Either they can cost money or they can pay money.

Many people who have been arrested for possession of marijuana have no other crimes on their record. If those people could get weed legally, they say that they would be willing to pay the extra. Others argue that the weed would be more readily available to kids. Others are not so sure. “Think about it,” one anonymous pot head stated,”Since cigarettes are sold in stores, how many times do you see some guy standing on the street corner selling cigarettes to kids? It seems that by selling it in stores, much less of it would be on the streets.” Some do not understand how it is legal to drink, when alcohol causes so many to be abusive, and violent, and yet they do not want weed legalized, which is known to make a person calm, and, well, downright too lazy to want to fight.

Whether you agree with legalizing pot or not, it seems imminent. Many states such as New Jersey and Illionois are trying to get medical marijuana legalized. Other such as California are trying to make it legal to buy and smoke pot, so that it can be taxed. Recently in California, San Francisco lawmaker, Tom Ammiano, introduced a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. “With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move towards regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense,” Ammiano told reporters. “This legislation would generate much needed revenue for the state, restrict access to only those over 21, end the environmental damage to our public lands from illicit crops, and improve public safety by redirecting law enforcement efforts to more serious crimes. California has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to enact a smart, responsible public policy for the control and regulation of marijuana.”

Advocates point out that thirteen states already regulate medical marijuana. “Marijuana already plays a huge role in the California economy. It’s a revenue opportunity we literally can’t afford to ignore any longer,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “It’s time to end the charade of marijuana prohibition, tax the $14 billion market, and redirect criminal justice resources to matters of real public safety. Assemblyman Ammiano has done the state an enormous service by breaking the silence on this commonsense solution.”

Although I do not advocate drug use, it seems to me the arguments speak for themselves. I have also witnessed firsthand those who, like Melissa Etheridge said, are given prescriptions for over fifteen different prescription drugs to take DAILY (literally, I saw the bottles), when just smoking weed helps all of the issues they are having, such as back pain, and leg pains from injuries sustained in the military, nausea and lack of appetite,headache, inability to sleep, etc. I spoke with them, and their feeling is much the same as Melissa’s. Why have to take so many chemical pills when a natural remedy works so well? Should people like this be considered criminals? A veteran activist Dana Beal puts it simply, “Criminalizing millions of people - nearly 10 percent of the total US population for smoking a plant is ridiculous” he says. Embedded below is a video showing Glenn Beck’s ideas on the subject.

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