The term originated with a treasure hunt.
A group of high school athletes coined it when they took trips off into the forest to look for a hidden marijuana patch theoretically abandoned by a Coast Guard service member. The followed their treasure map, loaded their pipes, and went on adventures that would define language and expand communication.
They never found the patch.
Instead their forays into the wild found the gold in a term that launched a new national holiday. April 20th is the day that consumers celebrate a plant. With uses in textiles, nutrition, eco-fuel, and medication, it’s no surprise that this life sustaining plant has earned it’s own holiday even in the face of federal prohibition.
Yet hemp has been a part of humanity long before the failure of prohibition.
Evidence of hemp use has been found as far back as 2,000 BC.
That means that cannabis could be one of the original crops.
Cultivation of crops is how early humans moved from tribes into cities. Higher food production capability led to a denser population which led to increased scientific research and technological advancement. Modern society wouldn’t be possible with the development of agriculture.
Carl Sagan wrote: “It would be wryly interesting if in human history the cultivation of marijuana led generally to the invention of agriculture, and thereby to civilization.” (Carl Sagan, The Dragons of Eden, Speculations on the Origin of Human Intelligence p 191 footnote)
If cannabis was one of the original crops, as suggested by archeological finds, that would mean that it evolved with humanity. That would mean it’s genetic biology adjusted over time to best suit our needs for nutrition, healing, and textiles.
So what is the point of 4/20?
It isn’t just about getting high.
April 20th is the day we celebrate the joy of life and the evolution of human enterprise. It is a step towards a growing economy that is sustainably in alignment with scientific advancements in medicine and comfort. It is a day when medical patients take the time for gratitude for legalization.
4/20 is a day when we are grateful for nature.
It is a day we celebrate our symbiosis.
Grim, Ryan. “420 Meaning: The True Story Of How April 20 Became ‘Weed Day’” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 20 Apr. 2010. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
“The 10,000-year World History of Hemp and Cannabis.” The 10,000-year World History of Hemp and Cannabis. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.