420 in Vancouver

It is indeed April 20, 2009 today; 420 is a universal in joke for all you blunt smokers out there. I saw about 20 people lined up waiting for the HQ of the BC Marijuana Party to open this morning. Usually, the store isn’t so crowded so early!

Some myths about the origin of “420” are totally busted:

Police dispatch code for smoking pot is 420. The number 420 is not police radio code for anything, anywhere. Checks of criminal codes suggest that the origin is neither Californian nor federal. The Canadian Criminal Code s. 420 is about illegally or fraudulently buying military supplies from a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

There are approximately 420 active chemicals in marijuana. Actually, there are approximately 315 active chemicals in marijuana. This number goes up and down depending on which plant is used. (Thank you “about.com” for this statistic!)

April 20th is National Pot Smokers Day. Well, it is now; but that wasn’t the origin.

April 20th is Hitler’s birthday. Yes, it is his birthday. This is a great example of a cause and effect being muddled together. The two have NOTHING to do with one another, as the term didn’t come into use until the 70’s.

April 20th is the date of the Columbine school shootings. This happened after the term was already in use.

4:20 is tea time for pot-smokers in Holland. FAIL! Not true. Hollandaises (or, as they’re more commonly known, “the Dutch”) have their tea with the rest of Europe – whenever they damn well please.

According to the editor of High Times, Steven Hager, 420 originated in 1971 with a group of a dozen students, who wanted to pass the word when they would meet to smoke without parents and teachers realizing what they were talking about. They would meet at the school’s statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 p.m.

Who is Louis Pasteur? from wikipedia: Louis Pasteur (December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895) was a French chemist and microbiologist born in Dole. He is best known for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of disease. His experiments supported the germ theory of disease, also reducing mortality from puerperal fever (childbed), and he created the first vaccine for rabies. He was best known to the general public for inventing a method to stop milk and wine from causing sickness – this process came to be called Pasteurization. He is regarded as one of the three main founders of microbiology, together with Ferdinand Cohn and Robert Koch. Pasteur also made many discoveries in the field of chemistry, most notably the molecular basis for the asymmetry of certain crystals.[1] He is buried beneath the Institute Pasteur, a rare honor in France, where being buried in a cemetery is mandatory save for the fewer than 300 “Great Men” who are entombed in the Panthéon.

I don’t think Louis Pasteur smoked marijuana, but I could be wrong.

So remember, kids: In Canada, possession of marijuana is illegal. So is dealing, and yes, technically, you can be busted for Possession for the purposes of trafficking for sharing a joint. The possibility of this happening is low; but it’s still possible thast you can be charged.

If you’re arrested, know your rights:

1. The police will try to ask you who owns the drugs and try to talk to you. You do not have to tell them anything! Under s. 7 of the Charter, you have the right to remain silent. If they’re trying to talk to you, you probably can’t make things better by talking to them. Exercise your right to silence!

2. You have the right to talk to a lawyer of your choice! If you already have a lawyer, insist that you want to speak to that lawyer, or if you’ve heard of a good lawyer, that you want to talk to them. Legal aid is great if you need general advice – but it’s harder for the police to prove that you got all your rights if you didn’t speak to your lawyer.

3. The police can’t search you unless they have reasonable and probable grounds for an arrest. They can detain you for investigative reasons, but that does not mean they can do more than pat you down. Any police officer who asks to look in your car or in your backpack cannot do it unless you say it’s okay – and saying no does not give them the right to arrest you! Do not let them look in your personal possessions.

I believe very strongly that each one of us has the right to be safe and free of police interference in our lives. Exercise your rights if you’re stopped or arrested by the police.