Roll One Up for 4/20 Image

by Biko Kennedy

Internationally recognized as 'weed day', April 20th or '4/20' or '420' annually is unofficially celebrated by marijuana aficionados all over the universe. Although marijuana is still categorized as an illegal substance in most parts of the world, many light it up anyways to show their love for the herb.

Gather it, crush it, separate it, place it, even it, fold it, seal it, bake it, spark it, inhale it, hold it…hold itenjoy it!


Internationally recognized as 'weed day', April 20th or '4/20' or '420' annually is unofficially celebrated by marijuana aficionados all over the universe. Although marijuana is still categorized as an illegal substance in most parts of the world, many light it up anyways to show their love for the herb.


But the question asked by many is where/how was the term '420' coined?


Though it's a cloudy mystery, rumour has it that 420 came from a police code dispatch for smoking in progress, while some characterize 420 to the number of active chemical compounds in marijuana. Yet the most popular story revolves a tale where a group of pot smoking teens in San Rafael, California, 1971 was on a mission to find a cannabis (marijuana) crop that they had learned about.  


The teenagers were known as the Waldos- because of their chosen hangout spot on a wall outside their school. The Waldos, Mark Gravitch, Dave Reddix and Steve Capper, decided to meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur at San Rafael High School with 4:20 p.m. as their designated meeting time, which they called the "4:20 Louis." After several failed attempts to find the cannabis crop, the Waldos shorten the phrase to just "4:20? as a special code to imply pot-smoking in general.


Thus the unofficial holiday "4/20? was born and has now become an international phenomenon.


As it relates to Reggae music, marijuana seems to perfectly align itself with the genre but a number of scholars still ponder whether Reggae music is a product of marijuana smoking or the culture of marijuana smoking was simply popularized through the genre.

 "If you check where this music is coming from and the time when it started out, you realise that it really came from the poor. They saw reggae music as a chance to say what they wanted to say and share their views and that's how weed came up in reggae," explains Lutan Fyah to The Gleaner.


"It's not the music that we should associate with weed, it's the people who do the music. The music is pure and original. As a reggae artiste, I cannot say that weed is essential in what I'm doing. The originators, the ones who pioneered reggae music, those were the ones that used the herb to gain enlightenment and inspiration. That's why the music was so powerful back then," he continued.


"The more you accept herb, the more you accept Rastafari...herb is a plant. Herb is good for everything. Herb is a thing that gives you a little time for yourself so you can live," quipped BobMarley in a 1979 interview in New Zealand; words that seem to resonate in many up and coming Reggae acts.


"It's slave owner politics these marijuana laws come from. It's just a way to control the people. You have a lot of youths sitting in jail right now for nothing other than being caught with weed,"expresses Reggae Revivalist Protoje, adding that in his view, the laws are only enforced when they need to be enforced to show "who's in control or who has the power".


"Some say 'don't smoke herb.' They don't want us to unite, right, so they say, 'don't smoke herb.' (laughs)It's true! So you know, herb is the healing of the nation and people must get herb for dem use. They wanna smoke it, let 'em smoke it. They wanna boil it in tea, let 'em boil it in tea. If dem waan steam it, steam it, if dem wanna eat a little, eat a little, but they must get it," shared Bob Marley in a 1979 interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal.


Until the day marijuana laws are relaxed globally, light one up and enjoy 4/20 while it lasts!

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