What Is 420?

History of 420

Legalizing Marijuana t640
(Associated Press File Photo)

Marijuana Holiday. Light of Jah, White Widow, Big Bud, Northern Lights, Purple Power, Master Kush and Super Skunk. They’re all seeds celebrated on April 20, better known as 420.

For those who partake in National Pot Smoking Day (and aren’t stuck in an office writing about it), it will be a time to enjoy marijuana with friends and family.

Though it isn’t exactly a bank holiday, the holiday is celebrated around the nation (not legally of course) by pot smokers and weed brownie eaters alike. The history of the holiday, however, has remained, how fitting, a little hazy.

While it’s never been proven and there are still a ton of theories, most believe the holiday and term 420 stems from a code instituted by a group from San Rafael High School in 1971. The group, believed to be called the Waldos, was a group of pot-smoking folks who coined the code 420 to discuss the activity and time of in front of others.

The group that supposedly came up with 420, the Waldos, once told the High Times, “We did discover we could talk about getting high in front of our parents without them knowing by using the phrase 420.”

While pot was around long before the 1970s—marijuana was introduced in “The New World” back in 1611 in Jamestown and became a major commercial crop replacing cotton as a cash crop—its recreational use has largely remained frowned upon, after being pegged one of the most addictive drugs. The first restrictions for its sale in the United States were instituted in 1906.

Regardless of restrictions and laws, the holiday has remained a mainstay among smokers and the most popular day to host secret marijuana-related celebrations. In recent years, the holiday celebrations have skyrocketed and even moved into the public sector. One popular event is called The High Times Cannabis Cup in Denver, and another, the San Francisco Cannabis Club Awards. Victoria Park in London, Ontario is known to host one of the largest worldwide 420 celebrations too.

Here are some important events that took place on April 20.

Columbine evacuation (Photo credit: wikipedia.org)

Columbine. On April 20, 1999, two students of a high school in Colorado killed 12 students and one teacher in a shooting rampage that rocked Columbine High School, the Denver suburb where the school sits—and the rest of the nation.

Twenty-one people were injured during the school attack.

The teenagers who pulled off the attack, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, ended the bloody massacre by killing themselves.

The death toll reportedly could’ve been worse, but a bomb made by one of the teens failed to go off.

“Columbine,” which the shooting is simply referred to, is now entrenched in American psyche.

The school shooting sent shockwaves across the nation and later inspired countless books that promised to reveal “the truth” behind the attacks, as well as a documentary by Michael Moore that explored gun violence in America.

Ten years after the tragedy, Susan Klebold, Dylan’s mother, wrote an essay in O, The Oprah Magazine, where she said she had no idea that her son was suicidal until she leafed through his journals.

“Once I saw his journals, it was clear to me that Dylan entered the school with the intention of dying there. And so in order to understand what he might have been thinking, I started to learn all I could about suicide,” she wrote.

“Early on April 20,” she added, “I was getting dressed for work when I heard Dylan bound down the stairs and open the front door. Wondering why he was in such a hurry when he could have slept another 20 minutes, I poked my head out of the bedroom. `Dyl?’ All he said was `Bye.’ The front door slammed, and his car sped down the driveway. His voice had sounded sharp. I figured he was mad because he’d had to get up early to give someone a lift to class. I had no idea that I had just heard his voice for the last time.”

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(Credit: Daily Mail)

Hitler’s Birthday. Adolf Hitler was born April 20, 1889 in Braunau am Inn, Austria. The mass murderer originally wanted to be an artist, but began to give up on his dream after he failed to get accepted into a Fine Arts Academy two times. The leader of the Nazi Party reined from 1920-1921 and was the Fuehrer of Germany 1933-1945. He rose to power when German president Hindenburg made him chancellor in 1932 and he began the Nazi’s Holocaust under the Third Reich during World War II. After Germany was defeated in 1945, Hitler committed suicide ten days after his birthday on April 30, 1945 at 56 years old.

Since Hitler was planning on ruling the world, he set up a Nazi compound in Los Angeles so he would have somewhere to stay while when visiting America. The Daily Mail visited the Nazi utopia which is now inundated with graffiti. American sympathizers were convinced the Fuehrer would be residing in the LA compound, so they spent millions on landmark making it perfect for what they thought was his inevitable arrival.

Historian Randy Young told the Sunday Express, “This was supposed to be the seat of American fascism from where Hitler would one day run the United States. The neighbors were a little freaked out by the construction and weird happenings, but until war broke out, they thought they were just eccentric people.”

The compound consists of a diesel power plant, 375,000 gallon concrete water tank, giant meat locker, 22 bedrooms and even a bomb shelter. The estate was frequented by Hollywood fascists who were waiting for the war to end.

The fascists had plans to build five libraries, a swimming pool, several dining rooms and a gymnasium with the money that was being sent to them by Germany, but the plans never came to fruition since Pearl Harbor was bombed and America entered World War II. Police arrested the fifty people who were living there and the Nazi compound was forever abandoned.

Now there are plans for the eerie, graffiti ridden landmark to be bulldozed and transformed into a picnic area for local hikers. The Nazi influence on American soil will be forgotten.

This year: Kony 2012 “Cover The Night.” Kony 2012 caught the world by storm after a video by group Invisible Children went viral over the Internet this March.

Jacob, Kony 2012
(Credit: Youtube)

Joseph Kony is “the world’s worst war criminal,” according to group. The Ugandan warlord is accused of abducting children and forcing them to become sex slaves or soldiers for his rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Invisible Children released a 27-minute video “that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”

On Friday night Kony 2012 supporters plan to plaster posters and stickers of Kony all over cities across America in order to make him “famous.” They are hoping that this fame will give rise to a public outcry that will push U.S. military advisers to support the Ugandan Army until Kony has been captured and the LRA disarmed.

Even though the video inspired countless Facebook pages and won over many young people, it was not without criticism. Some people pointed out that Kony is no longer based in Uganda and that the group simplified the situation and left out the kidnappings and killings other groups and government forces were partaking in.

In mid-March Invisible Children’s co-founder, Jason Russell, was arrested in San Diego, and a video of him standing on the sidewalk naked, pounding the pavement with his bare hands hit the web. His family said that he was suffering from “reactive psychosis” due to stress, exhaustion and dehydration following his overnight fame.

The organization released a second video in early April, which gave more details and context than the first, and featured more voices from the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the LRA is currently based. According to Mashable, the second video only got 2 percent of the traffic of the first one.