Millions across the globe enjoy smoking weed and this week is their time to truly celebrate their passion as it is 4/20.
Yes, every year on 20 April, doob-lovers everywhere crack out the ganj in epic proportions and enjoy getting stoned with their pals, with perfect strangers, or completely on their own.
The biggest event in the UK is at London’s Hyde Park, where thousands gather each year to spark up and this year is likely to attract huge numbers given the tropical weather.
The event is a celebration, but also works as a rally calling for the government to decriminalise marijuana. 12 people were arrested there last year.
The Facebook Event page for this year’s Hyde Park dope festival says it should start at midday and there are currently 2,300 people interested.
Why is it called 4/20?
The simple answer is that it takes place on 20 April, which is 4/20 if you write it the American way round of month first, day second.
However, the reason behind the day falling on 20 April is hotly debated in the cannabis community.
Our Ellen Scott runs through the theories…
People think 4/20 refers to a secret police code
I’ll be real. This is EXACTLY what I always thought 4/20 referred to, and it seems to be what most cannabis fans believe when it comes to the day.
People claim that 420 is the radio code used by police to describe catching anyone smoking weed. And so, weed-smokers took over the code for their own reference and made 4/20 their special weed-smoking day.
But actually, the 420 code is actually used for homicide. Dark.
People also think 420 is the number of chemical compounds in cannabis
This is not true.
There are also theories that 420 comes from a Bob Dylan song
Yep, some geniuses have noted that 12 x 35 equals 420. And 12 and 35 happen to be the numbers referenced in Bob Dylan’s song ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’. Whaaaa.
Bob Dylan also chants ‘everybody must get stoned!’ in the song, which adds to this theory’s power.
But here’s the truth (as far as we know): 4/20 is all down to a group of students
This, according to the internet, is the most credible story out there on the origins of 4/20 – as told in its entirety to the Huffington Post.
Back in 1971, five students at San Rafael High School in California would meet at 4.20pm – right after doing their after-school sports – by the school’s statue of Louis Pasteur to toke up.
It became a tradition, and the group, who called themselves The Waldos, began using 420 as a shorthand for smoking weed.
This spread, 4.20pm became known as the perfect time for smoking weed, and the number 420 became synonymous with marijuana. Whoa.
Marijuana was first banned in 1915 in Utah and became illegal in 28 other states by 1941.
By 1937 it was banned across the USA.
Warf said: ‘Many early prejudices against marijuana were thinly veiled racist fears of its smokers, often promulgated by reactionary newspapers. Mexicans were frequently blamed for smoking marijuana, property crimes, seducing children and engaging in murderous sprees.’
Here in the UK, the drug was banned on September 28, 1928. It was added to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1920 but still prescribed for medical use up until 1971.
The Defence of the Realms Act in 1914 initially banned drugs for soldiers due to the break out of World War One – to make sure troops weren’t taking anything.
This temporary measure was then expanded to the entire population in the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1920.
Growing cannabis plants became illegal in 1964.