Browsing through cannabis related websites you may have come across the number 420, 4:20 or 4/20, wondering what it refers to. In Europe the term is not commonly used yet, but in North America it's a popular and discreet way of referring to the use of cannabis, or to identify oneself, a website or business with cannabis culture.
The date 4/20, or April 20th, has become an unofficial holiday of the counterculture, when dedicated smokers gather to celebrate and consume cannabis, especially at 4:20 pm of that day.
The term seems to have been coined in 1971 by a group of teenagers at San Rafael High School that would meet after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke cannabis at the Louis Pasteur statue. It became part of their group's salute, "420 Louis!", and became popularized in the late 1980s by fans of The Grateful Dead.
During the yearly Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, the 4:20 councils are a key element. Held each day at 4:20 in the afternoon, they provide a venue for the interchange of ideas and opinions. There's an open microphone and anyone who wishes to address the group may do so.
California's implementation of its medical marijuana law (Prop 215) did not protect patients from arrest. Interestingly a new law to address vague provisions in Prop 215 was named SB 420.
Another holiday dedicated to cannabis takes place 3 days later, because April 23 is the feast day of Khizr, Islam's patron saint of cannabis. Islam inherited Khizr from many earlier myths, as can be seen from stories that associate him with such luminary figures as Moses and Alexander the Great.
We're doing our part of preparing for 4/20 by unpacking the many boxes filled with new bongs and pipes, as can be seen in our new video at Azarius TV.