420 has become a notorious code for pot smokers across the nation. The number has come to symbolize marijuana on dating sites and classifieds and on April 20th every year, it is marked by a grandiose celebration of the flower that brings so much joy to so many. At 4:20 PM on 4/20, college campuses and other locations (both public and private) across the nation spark up with smoke as a public display of love and solidarity is shared among pot lovers. It’s the black Friday of the weed industry as sales skyrocket and businesses are swarmed with people hungry for those 420 discounts.
Origins of the 420 Term
The term seems to have started with some kids from San Rafael High School in California in the early ‘70s who called themselves the “Waldos.” The story goes that the brother of one of their friends was about to get busted for growing weed, so he drew up a map that would allow the group to go and harvest the buds. The kids would meet after football practice at 4:20 under a statue of the chemist Louis Pasteur, smoke weed and prepare to find the marijuana patch. Although they never did find the crop, “420 Louie” turned into code for getting together to smoke and, later on, it just became “420.”
Positive Reasons to Celebrate
This year’s celebration is marked by a lot of positive change as marijuana reform keeps sweeping across the country. Last November, California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joined Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and D.C. in legalizing recreational marijuana. 4 more states legalized medical marijuana, bringing the total number of states with legal marijuana up to 28. More states, such as Rhode Island, are making plans to legalize marijuana by next year and a number of legislators have taken it upon themselves to introduce bills that would either reschedule or deschedule marijuana.
The Possibilities of Descheduling and Rescheduling
Currently, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, putting it in the highest risk category alongside heroin and LSD. Rescheduling would, at minimum, decriminalize the plant and allow it to be accessible to everyone and rescheduling it would allow it to be regulated in a similar manner as cigarettes and alcohol. Surveys indicate that the majority of Americans are in favor of ending prohibition and legalizing marijuana for adult use, so if the federal government is really listening, progress will be made in that direction over the coming years.
That possibility seems unlikely however as enthusiasm for marijuana is not evidently part of the Trump administration’s philosophy. Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have both indicated that the administration would like to crack down on recreational marijuana although it’s unclear whether they will actually go against the desires of the majority of the country and do that. Sessions is a long time prohibitionist who once asserted that “good people don’t use marijuana.” Having said that, it’s unclear whether he will in fact take action to crack down on the plant but the marijuana industry is working hard to protect state rights across the country.