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Apr-20-2008 14:45printcomments

420: Marijuana Users Get Their Own Holiday

420 holiday
Salem-News.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - I remember first hearing about the 420 reference for marijuana when a friend of mine was traveling back and forth frequently between the U.S. and Russia, South Korea and New Zealand back in the early 90's. I just recall him telling us that it would come to represent the cannabis herb that is the center of so much attention around the world.

So what does it mean? Well, I think it is safe to say that it used to be a code for smoking pot. People would say, what time is it? The answer would frequently be "Well it's 4:20 of course."

Today it is still the same thing though to a lesser degree of secrecy. Earlier generations of Americans were told that marijuana would ruin their lives, that it was the devils weed and in earlier years Americans were told it was something that the "Mexicans" and the "blacks" used.

In fact it was William Randolph Hearst, a media mogul, who plotted with Dow and Dupont in ways to demonize and criminalize pot. They made sure lots of stories detailing the "demon weed" were published and then they bankrolled a movie called "Reefer Madness" that depicted marijuana as the most depraved substance to ever overtake our youth.

They told people, straight up, that marijuana was far worse than heroin. Today the federal government still maintains that marijuana is as bad as heroin or meth, as it places it in the exact same legal category.

Racism? Well they used marijuana to explain why Pancho Villa's soldiers behaved with rampant disregard for Americans during border raids.

They also often associated pot with the "depraved actions" of black people, mainly because the jazz scene in the 1920's and 1930's was very hip, as it continues to be today. It should be no secret that entertainers who were the cream of the crop of their day experimented or even regularly use it.

In fact, some of our jazz legends used marijuana and it didn't seem to damage the thinking abilities of the greats like Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. These great Americans were all busted for marijuana possession in their lives.

Then came the 60's, and the period of enlightenment and marijuana use really took hold. Marijuana has remained a regular staple of America's daily diet ever since.

When you are talking about marijuana and hemp, you are talking about the same plant. Let's get that straight. But the industrial hemp plant which grows wild today throughout the Midwest states as any Amtrak train rider who has passed through this area knows, does not get a person "high".


Hemp is grown for its stock, the strongest natural fiber known to man, and the THC count stays very low. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active ingredient in pot that makes a person "high".

On the other hand, unlike hemp, marijuana grown to smoke has all the emphasis on the flower or "bud". The buds are dried, and that is what the user consumes. The bud is where the THC counts are concentrated.

So in other words, an agricultural scenario where marijuana could replace trees, does not mean fields of pot that high schoolers will raid, because all smoking industrial hemp brings is a headache.

One interesting thing anti-pot forces and police have said in recent years, is that "Marijuana is much stronger, far more potent than it used to be." This is not true, in spite of what any police officer or DEA agent might try to say.

Marijuana strains today are grown by people who do their homework, which often equates to a simple Internet search, and they learn some simple, sound techniques in growing.

In the 1970's most marijuana on the west coast was from Mexico, where the growers don't have the males separated from the females. The result is pot full of seeds that was not grown from a great seed to start with.

All I'm trying to say is that marijuana is not "different today" than it used to be, and mad scientists have not emerged from laboratories with some massively more powerful herb, it is as likely as the creation of ten pound apples. I'm sure that many of the growers would be very happy if any of these federal government points of view were true.

420 represents millions of Americans who say they dismiss the false government propaganda and have given up on the old ways of thinking. They are people who hope that some day they will not be thrown in jail for possessing a natural element placed on the earth by God himself, and cultivated by Mother Nature.

It is becoming increasingly clear that marijuana has almost countless medicinal applications for treating people who are sick, and it is the best natural fiber that grows on the earth; nothing is stronger than hemp. It can be used to replace unnatural plastics with natural elements. It makes paper and could be used in place of many trees that take ten years to produce what hemp will yield in one year.

But that is getting away from the point, I think. 420 isn't about rope or medical movements, it is just a simple slogan that has become an advertising prop for pot.

Since the national media is playing along and making it the subject of stories, I thought it was proper that Salem-News.com, the only news source in the world that has a medical marijuana doctor on staff to answer questions from patients, should fill in a few blanks too.




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Anonymous April 20, 2015 6:50 am (Pacific time)

I support FREE WILL for all peeps


interstate420 April 24, 2008 3:34 am (Pacific time)

In 1980, U of Miss. scientists, C.E. Turner and partners, did electron mass spectrometry on the cannabis sativa l. plant and published that there were 420 different constituents. Here's the article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7426688 Not some stoners in LA, meeting after detention-->stoner PhDs in a laboratory advancing science! Your welcome.


brandon April 21, 2008 11:06 am (Pacific time)

awesome story


RoosteR April 20, 2008 7:10 pm (Pacific time)

Oh one thing i forgot, you say you have a medical marijuana doctor on staff, well here i have a quick question for him. Doc i have been a potsmoker since for as long as i can remember, (come on it is 4/20, gotta throw a little humor in there) but heres my problem i have suffered from depression for a long time and ive been prescribed this and that to no avail, not only do i despise pills but in most all cases i dont believe in putting foreign man-made substances in my body to fight a "clinical disorder" the only thing thst calms me down at nite and puts me at ease and allows me to rest easy is to smoke a little weed. but in that lies many a problem. First because i use marijuana and enjoy it i have gone to jail several times in the process of obtaining the "schedule I narcotic that drives people insane and causes people to commit illegal acts" and i am sick of it but i dont know how to go about changing it. I Live in Montana which i know is one of the states that condones use of marijuana for medical purposes, but what am i supposed to do go to a doctor and tell him i would like to be prescribed medical marijuana for depression? I am a young man and the guy would almost for sure look down on me as some punk kid trying to get his "fix." I am at a loss because i do not want to go back to jail again over something i believe is a gift from god for the weary and the oppressed, so my question is any and all advice you could spare to help me through and hopefully conclude my dillema. I Will greatly appreciate and take to heart any advice you would be willing to give on my predicament


RoosteR April 20, 2008 4:39 pm (Pacific time)

the oppression and holier than thou attitude has gone on for 2 long, they say weed makes people crazy and violent, ill tell you this if pot were legalized crime and meaningless acts of violence would be cut in half if not more, because lets face it who in their right mind would wanna face 15 to life for goin and scopin out some rocks, when they could run down to thje local gas station and buy a bag of herb, sure they would tax the crap out of it, but who cares ill pa watever the price if i can get off work got down to the bar and Relax with a beer and a joint. Plus there would be hardly any crime because if it were legal and the majority of the population were smoking it, everyone would be home gettin sumthing to eat by 7 and in bed no later than 8 or 9. all you old unworldly legislators need to realize that even the decriminilization of my love Marijuana would be one of the best and most effective ways to better this country and heaven knows its been awhile since weve had a positive like that, there that probably sums it up. Yes on 215 Legalize Freedom


Anonymous April 20, 2008 2:36 pm (Pacific time)

Cool story, nice to see an unbiased look at an otherwise 'taboo' piece of pop culture.


Potbelly April 20, 2008 2:32 pm (Pacific time)

Great article. Nice to see that there is media that isn't run by government. Good job!!

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