420 for Freedom 

click to enlarge Neal Smith, Indiana NORML chair, stands with colleagues at the 420 MOJO Tent Party held Friday at the Mousetrap.
  • Neal Smith, Indiana NORML chair (right), stands with colleagues at the 420 MOJO Tent Party held Friday at the Mousetrap.
  • Rebecca Townsend

Here we are, the day of the year for those who willfully, even gleefully, violate a law that the majority of adults have broken at least once; a law that needs to be broken frequently.

The closest we know about the origin of 420 is a group of San Rafael, California High School students with a connection to the Grateful Dead used the phrase as code for getting high.

The Huffington Post has a good explanation of the whole story. The celebration of 420 is now worldwide, and ranges from private parties to major public events. It has become the day the mainstream media actually mentions the word "Marijuana," and we're starting to see some rather positive coverage of 420 events, and even (gasp!) honest-to-goodness debates and news about Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana.

But why have the "High, holy day?" Or rather, how do we have it? It's yet another indicator that those who enjoy the Herb and have enough sense to realize the anti-freedom position of government is detrimental to all of our freedoms, have coalesced into a culture all of its own.

Think about it. Stoners have our own artifacts such as pipes, pipe bags, pipe tools and cleaners, roach clips, rolling papers, lighters, vaporizers, chillums, grinders, trays, rollers, stash tins, safes, odor-containing plastic bags, ashtrays and who knows what else. We have our own clothing, usually made out of Hemp. We have our own T-shirts with a variety of graphics and words, in a variety of colors, especially tie-dyes. We have caps and shoes, belts, dog leads and collars made from Hemp. Paper from Hemp, Hempseed oils, soaps, lotions shampoos and more. The leaf, long the sigil of the Marijuana Movement, shows everywhere.

We have our own communications media. The Marijuana Movement was among the first on the web. Now there are tens of thousands of websites devoted to Cannabis. We have the premier video/audio site, "Time 4 Hemp" run by Hoosier native Casper Leitch. We have "Toke of the Town" by Steve Elliot, "Jackherer.com" which holds the bible of the Hemp Movement, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" and thousands of others.There are libraries of books on policy, growing, the stoner lifestyle. Plays, like "The Marijuanalogues" have proliferated.


We have our own music as well. Bands like Los Marijuanos, Green Fever, and Chief Green Bud among a slew of others. Some of the music goes back into antiquity, many surviving the Reefer Madness period by artists like Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman.

We have our own movies, the most famous, of course, being the Cheech and Chong films. Showtime has the seven year run of "Weeds." And documentaries like Run from the Cureand What If Cannabis Cured Cancer are everywhere.

There are religions that recognize the sacrament that is Marijuana. The Rastafarians, the THC Ministry and the recognition of Cannabis as a sacred plant that permeates sects of even mainstream religions. The recognition of Cannabis as a sacred plant goes back into ancient times.

Now we have our own worldwide holiday...April 20th. It's a day where users of Cannabis all over the world take time to honor this most sacred of plants for all of its uses: Medical, industrial, and for pure, safe enjoyment.

We are a culture. We have a right to exist. 420 is an expression of that right to live our peaceful lives as we, not the government, see fit. The laws against Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana are morally wrong, based on lies and have injured the rights of all people to be free from government corruption. We stand on 4/20 to advise those who are corrupted that we will not tolerate their evil. Our time is now. If you love freedom, stand with us.

Neal Smith is chair of Indiana NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.)


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