For most people in the world, the 20th April (4/20) is just another average day in the calendar. I remember when a colleague first mentioned the concept of 420 - the pot smokers secret code meaning ‘hey guys, it’s joint o’clock’. And then suddenly it seemed like there were knowing references everywhere. Did you know for example that in the Tarantino movie Pulp Fiction, the clocks are set to 4.20 in some of the scenes, or that there are approximately 420 molecules in the cannabis plant?
Origins of 420
The origin of the term stems back to some college students in the 1970s, who would who meet at 4.20 to go in search of an abandoned marijuana plot. The magazine High Times soon brought it into counter culture parlance, as did the group The Grateful Dead. These days 420’s meaning has become shorthand for the pro-cannabis legalisation movement, with the term getting an official stamp of approval when the California legislature codified the medical marijuana law, calling the bill SB420.
And now 420 has become so ingrained into cannabis culture that it’s even become an official day. Originating in the United States, events can be found across the world.
What 420 day means to us
For Endoca, 420 day is about much more than the right to light up a joint. It’s about reclaiming the right to humanity’s natural heritage - i.e. the cannabis plant in all its medicinal glory. It’s about calling attention to the ludicrous situation in which we find ourselves; brainwashed into believing that thousands of years of the safe medicinal use of cannabis and hemp mean nothing compared to 70 years of pharmaceutical company, synthetic dominance.
But the tides are turning and people are gradually waking up. And 420 day is a chance to be out and proud about the benefits of the much-maligned and misunderstood cannabis plant, as well as giving a respectful nod to all those activists who have campaigned on its behalf over the last sixty years.
So in solidarity with the many 420 events around the world, here’s a quick pick of the pro-cannabis crop.
Seeing as this is where 420 started, it’s no wonder that almost major city has at least one major event. Washington DC for example has The National Cannabis Festival, Denver the 420 rally and 420 in the Park in San Francisco. But there are many more smaller events such as the International Church of Cannabis, which opens its doors to the public to coincide with 420 day.
Despite being home to the first ever cannabinoid pharmaceutical company, the UK remains firmly in the dark ages when it comes to cannabis regulation, medical or otherwise. But that doesn’t stop pro-cannabis campaigners who will be attending the 420 Rally in London, Hempstock in Glasgow and the Global Cannabis March in Cardiff.
Who knows if Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister and darling of the pro-cannabis lobby will be in attendance, but Canada will certainly have much to celebrate at the 420 rally in Toronto.
Ireland maybe taking some tentative steps towards legalising medical cannabis, but critics say the changes don’t go far enough and recreational use is still illegal. That’s why people will be gathering at the 420 in the garden in Dublin.
Historically one of the more progressive countries in Europe when it comes to cannabis use, it’s no surprise that Amsterdam is hosting a 420 Festival.
Another country at the cusp of change when it comes to medical cannabis regulation, 420 day will be celebrated at Free Cannabis Victoria 420 Rally in Melbourne.
So, if you happen to be using a cannabis based extract or indeed smoking a joint today, just pause for a moment as there is still a lot of work to do. Maybe you can't attend a 420 event, but you can tell a family member, friend or colleague about how CBD or medical cannabis has changed your life. The more normalised the medicinal use of the cannabis plant becomes, the more it will move out of the shadows, allowing it once more to assume its rightful place as an officially recognised option for many health conditions.