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Articles Significance of 420

Significance of 420

Significance of 420 On January 1, 2004, then-governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 420 into law, establishing rules for the legal use of marijuana for medicinal reasons, and setting a precedent that, so far, has only been accepted by 14 other states and Washington, DC: that the government shouldn't deny access to a substance that is no more dangerous than nicotine, is easy to produce, and has proven medical benefits. The number 420, of course, was chosen because modern marijuana smokers use the term not just as a way to refer to pot, but as a way of declaring that they are users of the drug at all. That's all very well and good, but how did the number 420 become significant in drug culture in the first place? For a long time there was a popular misconception that 420 referred to a specific section of the California penal code that had to do with possession or use of marijuana. This is untrue. In fact, that section of the code refers to "obstructing entry on public land." (For the record, 420 doesn't have anything to do with marijuana in the penal codes of any other states, either.) The truth is actually fairly prosaic. In the early 1970s at San Rafael High School in California, a group of twelve or so students began planning meetings near a specific statue at 4:20 in the afternoon, in order to toke. Eventually "4:20 Louis" became the password for meeting, and from that came the shorthand "420." According to the urban mythbusting site Snopes.com, there was no national or international movement associated with the number, or the time, it just expanded from the original dozen teenagers in much the same way as the old shampoo commercial used to illustrate word-of-mouth marketing: "If you tell two friends, then they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on." Today, of course 4:20 the time has expanded into 4/20 - April 20th, the date - and all around the United States, and across the globe, people pick this date to celebrate marijuana, with "hemp fests" and various other activities.
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Guest | Jun 1, 2012
 
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lindzzz | Nov 2, 2011
 
The funny thing is I am in an American Drug Scene class and we had a test question that relates to this article! I never thought that something on here would apply to one of my classes.
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chronic sufferer | Jun 10, 2011
 
This is really a cool story, I always have heard 420 but never really knew where it got started. This is real cool
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Guest | May 25, 2011
 
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| May 2, 2011
 
i have heard this story plenty of times. I think it is interesting because it grew so popular.
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Herb Lady | Apr 26, 2011
 
I have heard many different stories of how 420 came into existance. The one I thought most likely was International Smoking Time = 420. Glad to have the clarification as someone had posted this about the school kids, on the cannabissearch.com site several months ago.
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SkillitHits247 | Apr 25, 2011
 
That is funny how just a group of high school teenagers associated a specific time to meet and smoke that just quickly became well known in the pot smoker community. This date and time has become so popular to celebrate which actually brings people from different places, backgrounds, race and cultures that just ultimately brings them together peacefully simply for the love of marijuana.
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lindzzz | Apr 24, 2011
 
It is funny how so many rumors are associated with 420. I had heard about the penal code one before. Sometimes I wish that everyone in the world was required to take a toke at the same time. That would be the most peaceful hour on earth.
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Kushie Q | Apr 23, 2011
 
It is really funny how one simple statement by a handful of kids can become a wide spread nearly world wide phenomenom. Wonder if they had any inclination that what they did would spread so far. I know it is all across the US I wonder if it is world wide.
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sbsdewb | Apr 23, 2011
 
I know it really is. I enjoy learning about the wonders that involve marijuana at all ends. It still amazes me today how many people can openly say they are a marijuana user without being punished for it. I am glad to be among these people.