As Louisiana and the rest of the nation reassesses its relationship with marijuana it might intrigue you to know that today is kind of a pot smokers holiday. It's April the 20th, also known as 4/20.  And like the number 69 makes immature softball players giggle when they pick that as their number, the digits 4 and 20 have a certain significance in today's more lenient marijuana culture.

What Does 4/20 Really Mean?

That depends on who you ask. There are some that say "420" has its origins in police numerical nomenclature. You know, like 10-4 means "Okay", 420 was thought to be law enforcement code for "marijuana smoking in progress".

Another school of thought suggests that 4/20 is a reference to Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women #12 and #35. Because if you multiply 12 and 35 you get 420. I don't ascribe to that because the smoking of pot and doing math are very seldom related activities.

Yet, another and even stranger theory ties the 4/20 with the man everyone loves to hate, Adolph Hitler. I can't recall seeing any reference materials that tie Hitler and smoking pot together and like math, recounting historical events is seldom done correctly while under the influence of pot.

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The Most Likely Reason 4/20 is Associated with Getting High.

4:20 pm was apparently a time picked at random by a bunch of California high school students as their designated time to get high. According to a story from Time Magazine, one of the originators of the 4/20 phrase said that 4:20 pm was when extracurricular activities were over at school for the day. That's when he and his buddies would meet at a designated spot to fire up a joint.

So, you can see it probably had nothing to do with Hitler, mathematics, or even police numerical codes. It probably was just a number that was easy to remember. That's important when your brain is a bit foggy from, you know, all that learning those kids were doing in school.

How Did 4/20 Become So Popular?

If you're looking for answers as to why a bunch of high school kids getting high in California in the 1970s became one of the world's unofficial drug use holidays then you'd have to give credit to the Grateful Dead. Apparently, according to the article in Time Magazine, one of the original 4:20 high school kids got a job working with the band as a roadie.

According to the story, the "Dead" well known for their counter-culture reflections in their music reportedly used the 4:20 concept when they invited concert-goers to smoke pot at 4:20 pm on April 20th in a  flyer that was handed out at one of their shows. One of those flyers landed in the hands of a former reporter for High Times Magazine. The magazine reprinted the flyer and from that time on the number 420 became code for smoking weed.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Is Marijuana Legal to Smoke on 4/20?

No, it's not legal to smoke on April 20th or any other day if you happen to live in a jurisdiction where the drug is illegal. Now, there are many states in the country that have legalized recreational pot use. You can certainly fire one up in those states if that's your thing, but for most of the country, marijuana is still against the law for recreational use.

Is 4/20 an Official Holiday?

No, it's not official but it is widely celebrated unofficially even in places where the drug is against the law. Some cities around the nation will host huge outdoor smoking events on April 20th.

What Other Forms Can Marijuana Take?

While pot use is synonymous with smoking, there are many other ways to get the chemicals in the smoke into your system. Many legal marijuana shops will sell edibles and vape juice that contain THC, the chemical ingredient in marijuana that makes you feel euphoric, giddy, hungry, and a bit addled. Many marijuana aficionados still make brownies that include a mixture of THC oils in the batter too.

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Pot is Still Not Legal in Most States

While attitudes and the perception of marijuana have certainly become more liberal in recent years, marijuana is still against the law in most states Granted, with a doctor's prescription, you can get medical marijuana for help in a variety of health-related issues in states that have passed such legislation. And, there are some states, 17 of them to be precise that have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Oh, weed is legal in the District of Columbia as well, which would explain a lot of the noise and news we hear out of our nation's capital, right?

That's the Scoop on Blazing and Grazing on 4/20.

So now you know a little bit more about smoking pot than maybe you did five minutes ago. If you were high while you were reading this then you'll probably have to reference back to this article a few more times while you discuss it with your chums over a Hot Pocket and Twinkies. Marijuana tends to affect your ability to think and remember so, if you do choose to use it, please consider all of the effects, not just the ones that feel good.

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