True story prelude
I go to the Mobil store and get a pack of cigarettes. The guy rings it up and tell me the total. $4.20. (generics) Then he starts giggling. Being the paranoid freak that I am, I think he is laughing at me for buying generics. As I start to pop the trunk it hits me. Ohh..that 4.20.
It’s one of those days kid…..the incense is lit, The Congos “At The Feast” just popped up on Music Chocie, and I’m cleaning out the email, typing up news bits I missed the last few days. I come across one that makes me laugh. It is the second time today that these numbers have come to my attention. 4/20!
If you don’t know what this is, try to keep up and don’t get all judgmental on us when you do catch up. To the rest of you, my familia, you are probably grinning already. Being the professional writer that I am, I begin to do a bit of research to find the meaning of the mysterious 4/20 that is following me around today. The email starts like this:
KOTTONMOUTH KINGS AND CYPRESS HILL CELEBRATE MARIJUANA HOLIDAY APRIL 20th, 2005, WITH SMOKERS WORDWIDE
I read the press release and got briefed on the details. Every year on April 20th, major celebrations, demonstrations, concerts and festivals take place in honor of the marijuana holiday. This year, hydro-holding rockers Kottonmouth Kings teamed up with Cypress Hill and recorded a song that will be released on 4/20. “Put Down The Pipe” is the name of the cut .
KMK front man Brad “Daddy X” Xavier will be doing the radio rounds, promoting the song and the holiday. “This song teams the two biggest pro-marijuana bands on the planet,” says Kottonmouth Kings’ frontman Daddy X. “We’re happy to be a part of this year’s 4/20 holiday festivities and hope that this song can give people a reason to light up their pipes in unison.”
“Why is it that a plant made by the creator is illegal, yet guns and bombs manufactured by man are legal?” says X from his California home. “We’re just trying to raise awareness about marijuana and all the benefits it brings with it.”
“Put Down The Pipe” will be on the KottonMouth Kings next self titled album. The Kotton Mouth Kings and Cypress Hill have a lot of supporters with their pro-marijuana stance uniting them with fans. They should not be disappointed with the new material.
(I am disappointed however that no MP3 were included in the email, so I have nothing to show you all….see bottom of this post for a few links to some older stuff)
Now…back to this 420 thing. Wikipedia had the following things to say about the subject.:
Snopes.com and The Straight Dope claim that in the early 1970s a group of teenagers at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California used to meet every day to smoke marijuana after school at 4:20 PM. The time became a code word for the drug, and usage spread. 4:20 PM has since become a popular time to “smoke up”. (It’s also worth noting that 4:20 PM is the time of LSD creator Albert Hofmann’s first deliberate ingestion of the substance, in 1943 on what was later dubbed Bicycle Day; perhaps this is where the San Rafael teenagers picked up the idea.)
Another possible origin of the term can be found in the works of H. P. Lovecraft. A short story of his, entitled “In the Walls of Eryx” and first published in Weird Tales [34, No. 4 (October 1939), pp50-68], contains this passage:
I had encountered at least one of those curious mirage-plants about which so many of our men told stories. Anderson had warned me of them, and described their appearance very closely—the shaggy stalk, the spiky leaves, and the mottled blossoms whose gaseous dream-breeding exhalations penetrate every existing make of mask…Although everything was spinning perilously, I tried to start in the right direction and hack my way ahead. My route must have been far from straight, for it seemed hours before I was free of the mirage-plant’s pervasive influence. Gradually the dancing lights began to disappear, and the shimmering spectral scenery began to assume the aspect of solidity. When I did get wholly clear I looked at my watch and was astonished to find that the time was only 4:20. Though eternities had seemed to pass, the whole experience could have consumed little more than a half-hour.
Other theories include the following:
Urban legend claims, incorrectly, that 420 is or was a police code for a drug bust.
It was, at one time, believed that there were 420 chemicals in marijuana.
April 20th, or 4-20, is the last day on which one is supposed to plant cannabis seeds.
April 20th, or 4-20, is the birthday of Adolf Hitler.
The Beatles song “Come Together” is 4:20 in length.
“Pot Parades” are some of the more familiar events associated with Marijuana Day (is it an actual day? I thought it was every day…opps). If you are planning on joining in on the demonstrations, have fun but be careful. I have strolled through a few of these back in the day. They used to have them in Washington Square Park. I remember hearing all these crazy stories like guys in helicopters were throwing dime bags in the crowds and shit. The only thing that happened to me at any of them was I bought some really horrible dirt weed from some dread, and later on the cops busted the whole thing up, bum rushing the spot and sending a bunch of high slackers in a state of panic. Not a good look. It could have been worse. Another myth is that the cops won’t bust you for smoking in the street during one of these things. You might get lucky and a cop decides not to bust you. You might bump into another cop later on who isn’t amused by you or your tye dye Ronald Reagan smoking a blunt tee shirt. Don’t do anything stupid, regardless how kind that bud next to you smells, and you should be fine.
Here are a few more links on the subject. Please feel free to comment on anything I may have missed.
The real Source Magazine
HTV: Watch Steven Hager explain 420 on ABC Television
Pot Smokers Abuzz Over 420 ‘Holiday’
NIDA InfoFacts: Marijuana
Weed Hip Hop Songs
(Where’s my lighter…)