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Another Portland Blog

Thursday, April 20, 2006

 

Happy 4/20

I spent my undergraduate years at the University of Oregon. If you know anything about the campus and the surrounding region, you know today is a holiday. According to U of O lore, at least back then, the origins of every stoner's favorite day of the year have something to do with an alleged California police code for a marijuana bust. This is the story I've always thought of us as true until I was corrected a few days ago.

The real origin, according to Snopes via Wikipedia:


It's both more and less than people make it out to be. '420' began its sub-rosa linguistic career in 1971 as a bit of slang casually used by a group of high school kids at San Rafael High School in California. '420' (always pronounced "four-twenty," never "four hundred and twenty") came to be an accepted part of the argot within that group of about a dozen pot smokers, beginning as a reminder of the time they planned to meet to light up, 4:20 p.m. Keep in mind this wasn't a general call to all dope smokers everywhere to toke up at twenty past four every day; it was twelve kids who'd made a date to meet near a certain statue. It's thus incorrect to deem that '420' originated as a national or international dope-smoking time, even though the term began as a reference to a particular time of day.


And, as the naysayers always pointed out, 4/20 also marks the anniversary of the Columbine tragedy and Adolf Hitler's birthday.

But who else was born on this day? Carmen Electra, Crispin Glover, Jessica Lange and TV's Joey Lawrence. So smoke 'em if you've got 'em, if only to celebrate the birth of the man who played George McFly in the first Back to the Future.

Myself? I never touch the stuff (honest, Mom!) and will be spending the rest of the day sitting in my cubicle like the good little corporate drone I am.

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