What does 420 Mean to you? Interviews with Strangers on 4/20
We all have heard the term 420 – but what does it mean to you? We looked into the history of the 420 and then hit the streets to chat with strangers about what the holiday means to them, what their plans were for the weekend, and what they ended up doing. After talking with the Boulder community about the term, we made our predictions for what 420 will mean in the future and how the holiday could evolve.
History of 420
Most people in the world know what 420 is, but nobody knows where it came from. Most people think 420 derived from a police code in LA we have heard tea time in Holland, Hitlers birthday; the list goes on. We did a little research and found out that 420 has a legit history.
In 1971, a group of five high school students in San Rafael California (they called themselves The Waldos and the reason for that is because they hung out next to a wall outside of school) heard about a hidden cannabis plant left unattended by a coast guard. The owner of the plant was said to have stopped harvesting or taking care of this cannabis plant, and the Waldos were like, ‘we got to find this thing.’ As the legend goes, they somehow acquired a treasure map (we know, It sounds like a scene from the Goonies…)
The group would meet at 4:20 pm because that was just a convenient time after school to hunt for the weed plant. They never found anything, though we bet they smoked a lot of weed along the way. According to the stories, we read (see this on Huffington Post), some of the members of the Waldos were good friends with a couple of people in The Dead. They started using the term around them, and apparently, there was a poster passed out at one of their concerts that said meet at 420 for some 420-ing, and it just started to grow from there.
It’s incredible how the term has seeped into society to the point where so many people know about it we don’t even know where it came from! 420 has become a household term even for non-cannabis consumers. With the history taken care of, we wanted to see what the present opinion of 420 is. I mean, this 4/20, Cypress Hill performed a concert to over 280,000 people in Vancouver. So it is safe to say 420 still means a lot to people, but how much?
“What Does 420 Mean to You” Interviews with Strangers:
So we went downtown to Pearl Street, and went up to as many strangers as we could find to ask what does 420 mean to you? Do you even consume cannabis? And what are you doing for 420, if anything? We got a range of answers.
“It’s when you smoke a bunch of weed”
“420 is Passover”
“I don’t celebrate particularly, a few years ago I went down to the festival there in Denver just to play my guitar because I thought well, they’ll eat up my Beatles songs”
“I don’t know I haven’t really ever celebrated 420 that much, but I’m going to go to a concert”
“No I don’t really celebrate it anymore. I did go to a Snoop Dogg and 2 Chainz concert once”
“Well, it’s just a collaboration of really good spirits and good people. It really doesn’t hold a big holiday to me, but I know that in general it’s a good collaboration of people and just a lot of fun”
“When I see 420 on the clock, I’m always like; ‘420 where da weed at!?’ but yeah that’s kind of it it’s almost like a novelty I guess at this point for me”
“I think for industry folks, there are a lot of parties which is fun”
“Maybe I’ll smoke a little more weed than usual maybe I won’t, it’s not going to change my world”
It seems for many the novelty of 420 has worn off with legalization here in Colorado. Regular cannabis users are becoming more and more quote-unquote ‘sophisticated.’, But one of the most interesting interviews we got was a man who said that 420 is a somber day for him…
“To me it’s not a holiday, to me it’s a sad day. Back in 2015 my mom died from glioblastoma brain tumors in her head. It wasn’t the cancer that killed her; it was the chemotherapy and the radiation where they burnt a hole through her head. Throughout the treatments, I was trying to convince her that she should try cannabis oil, like Rickey Simpson oil because of the studies I’ve read and the stuff I’d heard it has done. It wasn’t until she was six months to her crossover that we finally convinced her and the doctors to put her on this oil.
Well in her last MRI two months before she died, golf-ball-sized tumors had shrunk into raisins. If we had started her on that before the surgeries and before the radiation and before the chemo, she might still be here.”
Most of us think about 420 as a jolly fun time, and this was a poignant reminder of the fact that not everybody can celebrate 420 openly and not everybody can use the benefits of this medicinal plant even if they need it. We’re fortunate here in Colorado and a few other states, but we still have to fight for legalization and de-stigmatization.
The fight to normalize is not over, and the fight to legalize could be dragged on for the better part of a decade. It’s fun to think of 420 a celebratory, but we always have to keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there that still don’t get the benefit.
This also loops into the fact that there are still a bunch of people in prison for small non-violent cannabis crimes (you can help by getting a $1 raffle ticket above!). People that maybe would love to be a part of the industry, to open their own dispensary are unable because they have been put through the system and have a criminal record are not allowed to participate in the cannabis industry.
So remember as you celebrate 420 whether it is the actual date, or just 4:20 pm on a Thursday if you enjoy the cannabis plant – then you might want to consider giving back in the industry. Advocate for legalization, donate to organizations that support cannabis criminals, and be vocal about your love for the plant in hopes to normalize!
What did you do for 420 this year? We would love to hear in the comments below!
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