Students Celebrate 4/20

The sun was shining, birds were chirping and a massive cloud of smoke hung above Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. For San Francisco natives and other city-dwellers, it was an obvious sign of the holiday devoted to marijuana: 4/20.


CBS Sacramento reported that around 20,000 San Franciscans, including USF students, and weed enthusiasts from around the country made their way to Hippie Hill, Robin Williams Meadow and Mission Dolores Park. They sparked joints and blunts, took bong rips and dabbed to display their appreciation for this herbaceous drug.


The Foghorn spoke to several USF students to find out about their plans for 4/20 and their perspectives on the controversy surrounding the recreational use of the drug, which is often associated with irresponsibility.


Elijah, a computer science major, said his class gets out at 3:20 p.m., so he was going to head to Hippie Hill right afterwards. When asked why he smokes, he said, “It helps me calm down.” So why do older people dislike reefer? Elijah said, “I can see both sides, but it’s just weed, you know?”


Arren had a list of things to do on 4/20 that ranged from “smoking a comically large joint” to “smoking with a person that is twice as old as him.”


Tommy, an entrepreneurship and innovation major from Thailand, is new to the 4/20 phenomenon because weed is not popular in Thailand. He said, “I don’t smoke, but I’ll take a few edibles. I don’t know where to go, but if you have recommendations, tell me.”


Calen, an environmental science major, and her friend McKenna have experiences with very understanding parents. “They are smokers themselves,” Calen said. “Yeah, my dad will leave me a joint out sometimes,” McKenna agreed.        


Arjun Patel, a business major, had other thoughts. “I’m not planning on celebrating, but that’s just me. If other people want to do it, they can do it,” he said. Patel does not smoke himself, but he understands why people participate.


For some, there’s an obvious question associated with this celebration: “Why is 4/20, 4/20?” Research has produced multiple theories in regard to this worldwide phenomenon. Two of the most common theories involve Bob Dylan, math and high schoolers from the 1970s.


The first theory comes from Bob Dylan’s song, “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35.” The song contains the lyrics “Everybody must get stoned.” The arithmetic occurs in the numbers in the title. When one multiplies 12 and 35, the product is 420. Unfortunately, the rock revolutionary has not confirmed the correlation between the lyrics and the mathematical equation.


The other theory, now confirmed through a KQED-FM podcast, comes from a marijuana oficiando. Chris Conrad, curator of the Oaksterdam Cannabis Museum in Oakland, Calif., had an interesting story to tell. He believes that “4/20” started with a group of high schoolers at San Rafael High School in Marin County, Calif. in the 1970s. The group, called “the Waldos,” would meet at 4:20 p.m. to chill and smoke the stresses of school away. This code was used to covertly cover their tracks from their parents.

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