Happy Holi-blaze: 420 as the next National Holiday

Morgan Levy, Staff Writer

Last week, a significant day elapsed: April 20. For some, it was just an ordinary Wednesday, but for cannabis users, 4/20 was a day of celebrating weed through means of recreational and medical use, in addition to enlightening oneself on the history of cannabis and/or advocating for its legalization. Educational information regarding advocacy for legal weed and its complex history graced the internet. According to an article by Business Insider, “the six-day period surrounding the holiday brought the total cannabis retail sales for the consumption occasion to $485 million in the US.” April 20 is not only a day to amplify the voices of weed legalization advocates, but a day to honor cannabis culture. Due to the deep significance 4/20 holds to many citizens, I believe April 20 should be classified as a national holiday.

Many wonder why cannabis is celebrated on April 20. Why not April 21? Or the 23? Various theories have circulated as to why April 20 has become classified as “Weed Day.” The most prominent theory is that of students at San Rafael High School. According to Time Magazine, everyday, five students at San Rafael High School would meet at 4:20 p.m. to smoke together because that was a time at which all of them were free. They would say “420” to each other as a code word for cannabis. So, legend has it, the daily 4:20 p.m. smoking ritual of high schoolers became the foundation of a possible holiday dedicated to weed.  

Making 4/20 a national holiday has a number of nationwide benefits. For starters, the influx of money spent on cannabis products and accessories bolsters the economy. On any other day, cannabis sales make up a large sector of consumer spending; a report by Leafly states that “Americans purchased $18.3 billion in cannabis products over the past calendar year, $7.6 billion more than the $10.7 billion in sales the previous year.” These data exhibit that cannabis sales have a positive outlook margin for years to come. In terms of making 420 a holiday, I’d like to use Christmas as an example. Sales surrounding Christmas proceed all year long (buying gifts/decorations throughout the year). Yet, during the time surrounding the holidays (November-January), Christmas-related spending skyrockets and pumps the economy. I believe that this same trend will occur if April 20 is nationally made “Weed Day.” Cannabis sales will proceed all year long, but will skyrocket around the holiday itself. This evidence allows me to reasonably conclude that making 420 a national holiday will harness economic benefits through the  increase in consumer spending. 

Holidays often fall short of materialization. That is, the true essence and meaning behind a cultural holiday is lost as those who celebrate become consumed with the tangible goods surrounding the day. However, 420 is not just about the commodity of cannabis itself. It is a day to appreciate the hard work of weed manufacturers and dispensaries, the medical benefits behind the drug, the decriminalization and legalization efforts that have taken place, the economic booms cannabis has caused, etc! One may counteract the creation of this holiday due to fearing that there will be an increase in the use of weed on this day, thus naturally leading to a general incline in weed-related accidents/injuries. However, this perspective fails to acknowledge that vast amount of education shared about cannabis on 420. There is an influx of informational articles and posts that circulate online to inform users on the proper ways to obtain and use the drug. Additionally, classifying 420 as a holiday will normalize the conversation surrounding weed, thus establishing a more comfortable environment for new users to ask for guidance on how to safely use cannabis products.  

The celebration of April 20 has received increasing popularization over the  years. Yet, there are still numerous people who fail to recognize the day because they adhere to such traditional ideals regarding cannabis and refuse to embrace a fresh perspective on the proven proponents of weed. This is yet another example of the stigma regarding cannabis. As Snoop Dogg himself once stated, “So what if I’m smoking weed onstage and doing what I gotta do? It’s not me shooting nobody, killing nobody, stabbing nobody. It’s a peaceful gesture and they have to respect that and appreciate that.” And there is no better way to respect and appreciate cannabis use than making 420 a national holiday.

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