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Cannabis has long been the target of criminalization and its use remains a hotly debated topic. Yet more and more states are legalizing the substance. They’re putting plans into action on how to regulate weed, and with countries like Canada planning legalization by July 2018, there’s no more burying the subculture surrounding cannabis. For those of you less tapped into “weed culture”, you may have heard the words “four twenty” thrown around. But what exactly is 4/20 and why do so many people blaze on this day?

4/20 is typically thought of as a day where stoners smoke pot all day and eat junk food. However, marijuana activist Jodie Emery stresses that 4/20 is a day of activism where people around the world get together to celebrate cannabis and push for legalization of the substance.

The classic myths are that 4/20 is a police code, or has something to do with Hitler’s birthday (he was in fact born on April 20th). There are also common rumors that 4:20 is tea time in Holland or that they are numbers in a Bob Dylan song multiplied. None of these are accurate.

The true story is about as plain as it gets. 4/20 originates from a group of teens who called themselves “The Waldos.” The group allegedly had a treasure map that lead to an abandoned cannabis crop. They would meet at a specific location on school grounds at 4:20 PM. Naturally, they would smoke some ganja when they met. The set smoking time was then popularized by The Grateful Dead followers in the same area who spread the message as they toured with the band. It’s that simple.

However, marijuana activism is an important step in combatting the repressive war on drugs. If Attorney General Jeff Sessions gets his way, cannabis will continue to be a schedule 1 drug in the United States. Schedule 1 is the most tightly restricted category reserved for drugs that have no currently accepted medical use.

This is consistently proven to be false.

Cannabis use can reduce anxiety, depression, and aides with conditions like PTSD. So, if you don’t agree with cannabis being criminalized: go outside today and resist.

Theo Wargo via Getty Images

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