Here's how 420 became an international symbol for marijuana
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If you want to know exactly why 420 became an international symbol for the devil’s oregano, well, sit back as we time-travel back to the 1970s, folks.
In 1971, teenagers Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich from San Rafael High School in Marian County would smoke marijuana at 4:20 every day, according to TIME magazine.
As a result, the number became their code for smoking a fat Mary Jane blunt after school.
The five students referred to themselves as ‘Waldos’, named after the wall they would sit on at their high school.
“We got tired of the Friday night football scene with all of the jocks. We were the guys sitting under the stands smoking a doobie, wondering what we were doing there,” Reddix told TIME in 2017.
Originally, ‘420’ was only used as a slang word for the group; however, the term began to gain traction when it spread from city to city, state to state, and generation to generation.
Not to mention, even the iconic American rock band The Grateful Dead even began promoting the term.
But over time, there have been other theories about the origins of 420.
CNN says some people thought it referred to California's penal code or police radio code for marijuana possession (but that's far from true), others suggested it was from a Bob Dylan reference, however he's denied any involvement.
Now, 420 has become an international moment on April 20th when cannabis producers and consumers come together to celebrate and smoke marijuana.
And while many bask in the joys of cannabis, advocates also use this day to rally for the legalisation of weed in the US and around the globe.
Many drug reform advocates have even hosted events in Australia, with Free Cannabis NSW annually holding picnics near Sydney’s CBD where people can light up and spread awareness about legalisation.
Cannabis activist Chris Hindi, the founder of Free Cannabis NSW, told Sydney Criminal Lawyers that they want to end the prosecution of people who smoke weed and redefine what it means to use it recreationally.
“The recreational side or not even necessarily recreational – because we don’t like that word. We believe all use is medicinal," he said.
He continued: “People that are coming home and smoking to relieve stress, or have small aches and pains. Whatever it may be. Your everyday users that aren’t necessarily dying or suffering from a terminal illness, these people are being forgotten about.”
Hindi added: “So we’re trying to destigmatise cannabis use. We’re trying to bring it away from the lazy stoner-type of stigma that’s associated with it.”
According to polling by the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) in 2019, 41 per cent of Australians now support the legalisation of cannabis, with 37 per cent remaining opposed and 22 per cent undecided.