Happy 4/20

The term “420” as a “discreet way to refer to marijuana” is ubiquitous in my social circle, inspiring giggles even among those who don’t smoke weed (myself included). But I’m always kinda shocked at how many people have never heard the slang term before.

As a devotee of slang, I’m even more interested as to the many competing theories as to why “420” came to mean marijuana; Wikipedia chooses to report the spurious rumor that a group of students at San Rafael high school (hee hee huh huh high school get it?) used to gather at 4:20pm to partake; I’ve heard the same story reported as fact about the University of Michigan, CSU Chico, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and Humboldt State, and I’m sure it’s repeated about plenty of other schools.

Until about ten years ago, I had more often heard the story that “420” was the number of the California Penal Code that referred to marijuana possession (it’s not), a rumor that seems derived from the rap slang term “187” for murder, though I personally heard that explanation of “420” as a slang term before I ever heard of anyone going one-eight-seven on the mutha.

Incidentally, the image above, taken from the Wikipedia article referenced, has a photo of a 4/20 celebration on the Porter Meadow — Porter is the college I attended at UC Santa Cruz. It was kind of the experimental-theater, free-jazz, black-turtleneck-and-combat-boots-wearin’, punk-lovin’ arty-farty college of the bunch, though it was far from the exclusive venue at UCSC for such rampant Bohemianism.

Since I’m digressing, if anyone cares — and why should you? — my opinion on pot is, rather predictably, that it is completely stark raving fucking psychopathic madness for a society to outlaw something like weed while you can buy liquor on every block.

Though I don’t smoke pot much and yet I do like me some fruit of the vine, I have to look at it in live-and-let-live terms, and frankly I have had plenty of run-ins with drunks. If I have to encounter a fucked-up jackass pissing me off in a club, on a streetcorner or in a back alley somewhere, I would much, much rather encounter a jackass baked crispy on KB than pickled in vodka. To me the war on drugs is a whole ‘nother issue from the war on pot — the latter is, to me, arguably the single stupidest social policy to which the United States seems miserably wedded.

So smoke up, citizens — and happy 4/20.

See Also: In 420 Related News.

420 Celebration: Wikipedia.

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2 Responses to “Happy 4/20”

  1. In 4/20 Related News « Skid Roche Says:

    […] 4/20 Related News Following my Sunday post on 4/20 about 420, I encountered a story yesterday morning on my new favorite radio station, KCBS […]

  2. Office Set, The Armory « Skid Roche Says:

    […] Antique office set, kind of looking like a World War II German flight officer’s lair. Note, amid all the flat-grey, wartime-boring furnishings, the clock set to 4:20. […]

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