Over the course of the past several decades 4/20 has become a symbol for ‘weed day.’ Where the designation comes from is as hazy as the smoke hundreds of thousands of pot aficionados will bask in around the country as they celebrate the recent progress in legalizing pot across America. Some believe that it is the designated hour for teatime of Amsterdam, the unofficial capital of cannabis. Others say it’s the number of active chemicals in marijuana while an even more elaborate explanation is that 420 is the numbers in a Bob Dylan song “Rainy Day #12 & 35” multiplied together. Whatever the origins, April 20th has grown to the pop-cultural phenomenon it is today for a simple reason: 4/20 is a youth driven counter culture rebellion in protest of marijuana being illegal.
During the period of free love, peace and rock and roll in the ’60s and ’70s, Marijuana was ubiquitous at concerts, universities and festivals around the country. But as the hippie culture waned, Marijuana became demonized as political culture grew more conservative and a ‘tough on crime’ reaction to political and cultural unrest from decades prior took hold.
Although marijuana had already been technically illegal since 1937, in the early eighties the Reagan administration passed the three-strikes law, the toughest national laws and sentencing guidelines ever against Marijuana growers, users and distributors. Public opinion towards marijuana had drastically soured and suddenly possession of hemp — or cannabis — was a major federal crime. While critics have long argued the new “Three Strikes” laws were harsh and unjust punishment, they also had another major unfortunate impact. The laws made crippled the burgeoning use of hemp for commercial (non-marijuana) purposes in the US.
– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.