logo for our 420 event

Celebrating 420! How A Number Became Our Cannabis Holiday

People who are friends of marijuana know 420, or 4:20 or 4/20. It’s long been the code for cannabis, taking a moment to partake in cannabis medicine (if you’re in a medically legal state) or to just get high if you’re in a recreational state. So 4:20 can happen on any day at 4:20 PM or if you’re an early bird (or night owl) at 4:20 AM, but also on the day of 4/20, as in April 20. You can use it in a sentence, as in, “I’m going to step outside for a 420 moment.” Not too long ago, a friend of ours in the cannabis business was injured in an accident and his Go Fund Me page was full of $42.00 donations.

It’s a knowing nod to our shared love of cannabis and the fact that we’ve had to keep in under wraps for so long.

The history of the code word is clear, it began in California (where all cool marijuana things begin) with five friends at San Rafael High School and the search for a plot of marijuana somewhere on the Point Reyes Peninsula. The friends, also known as the Waldos met after class each day at 4:20 to search for the weed, which was never found. The idea of 420 caught on and has been a part of cannabis culture since the 1970s.

Communities around the globe celebrate 420—Denver has a big event each year, as does San Francisco, Seattle, Amsterdam and multiple locations in Canada. With more states legalizing adult use, the “holiday” will only grow.

In Michigan, there are a number of events, including MI420.

We are excited to bring author Bruce Barcott as the keynote speaker for MI420, a networking happy hour event for professionals and entrepreneurs working in or interested in the cannabis industry.

author Bruce Barcott who is speaking in Grand Rapids for 420Barcott is a Guggenheim Fellow in nonfiction and the author of the book, Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in AmericaSince late 2015 he has served as Deputy Editor of Leafly, the world’s most popular cannabis information resource. At Leafly, Barcott oversees the site’s news and cultural coverage and chronicles the global evolution of cannabis legalization.cover of the book Weed the People, the author is speaking on 420 in Grand Rapids

A nationally recognized journalist, Barcott’s features and cover stories have appeared in TIME, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Mother Jones, and other publications. His op-eds and short essays have appeared on CNN.com, the New York Times and the Seattle Times.

His Grand Rapids talk is titled:
Everyday Wisdom from an Extraordinary Industry: Ten Hard-Learned Business Lessons from the First Year of Legal Marijuana

MI420 Event Details

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors:

Silver Haze sponsor:
Eyechronic TV
Northern Lights sponsors:
CannaLex Law
Cannabis Accounting, Inc.
Dutch Treat sponsors:
Meanwhile Bar
Left Coast Capital
Cannabis Counsel, PLC, Law Firm, Inc.
CannaBiz Connection

What’s Your Responsibility to the Cannabis Community?

Working in cannabis comes with responsibility to the cannabis community. For decades, people working with plants or just having flower on their person have been the target of law enforcement harassment; have been jailed and had assets and property seized. With this dark narrative, comes a responsibility for everyone working in the industry now to be a good citizen of cannabis.

Here’s how to improve your citizenship.

Know Your Cannabis History

Bob Marley wrote in his song, Buffalo Soldier: If you know your history, then you would know where you coming from. If you want to learn a little about marijuana’s colorful past, Wikipedia has well-cited page devoted to history. The historical section of the Pro Con website is comprehensive and easy to Weed the People book coverread. Two recently published books, “Weed the People” and “Cannabis Manifesto,” were written by a respected journalist and a noted activist and provide history and cultural context. The books also discuss the social justice issues around the criminalization of cannabis in communities of color. We’ve written our own short modern cannabis history here, too.

 

What Are The Marijuana Laws in Your State?

No matter where you live or travel, be smart about the laws regarding marijuana possession. Whether you live in a marijuana-hostile state, like Wyoming or are lucky enough to be in a cannabis-friendly place like Colorado or in one of 29 states where marijuana is medicinal or been decriminalized–know the law and your rights. There are cities, too, like Grand Rapids, Michigan where decriminalization has taken place within a state where non-medical marijuana is still a crime.

Carry a Card

If you live in a medical-only state, you need to have a card. Whether you visit your own physician or make an appointment with one who specialized in A Michigan Medical Marijuana cardMMJ determinations, this is an important step in cannabis citizenship. Having a card also helps provide the government with a accurate data regarding marijuana use; the more people with cards, the more power we have as a group. While we’re all for puff-puff-pass and trying other people’s personal favorites, you don’t do the business, the culture, or the community any favors by purchasing, re-selling or giving away medicine.

Oh, and it’s illegal, too.

Have a Voice

Join and support an advocacy organization like—NORML or the Marijuana Policy Project. They are our voice for marijuana choice on the state and federal level. Meet your local commissioners, state and federal legislative representatives. When action is being taken on cannabis in your community or beyond, it’s important to reach out in person, email or by phone to your elected officials and state your point of view. Reach out to those who oppose and support marijuana issue. Express your appreciation to cannabis-supporting legislators and educate opponents. And always vote.

Stand up For Marijuana

Letting people you know that you are a marijuana patient or a recreational marijuana user is a part of being a good citizen. It’s mentally liberating to come out. You’ll find when you start telling other people that you consume, that you’ll meet more people that do, too. Speaking up also helps you articulate your case for marijuana as medicine or adult-use. Not everyone is able to publicly stand up for cannabis, usually because of employment or family issues. You don’t have to come out on Facebook or be part of a social campaign, but be as honest as possible about your use. It’s helpful for people who don’t partake to stand with friends and patients who do. It helps normalize use and builds up the cannabis community, too