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|1st Pot Recognition|
How millions of potheads discovered the exact time of day to smoke.
What time is it? has a whole new meaning.
For weed fans, the answer is 4:20-tea time for the 90s hemp-hop generation.
A California tradition born in the 70s is now a nationwide ritual, a lingo and a holiday for cannabis smokers.
The most repeated explanation for 4:20's origin is that the San Rafael Police Department in Marin County, CA defined a 420 radio call as pot-smoking in progress.
However, the department denies this and says there currently is no such code.
Some heads believe the king of deadpan TV cops, Dragnet's Sgt. Joe Friday, once used the code in his perpetual chases of those funny TV hippies.
Another theory goes that marijuana contains exactly 420 chemical compounds, but the actual number is closer to 315.
Regardless, the three numerals are now synonymous with three letters: T-H-C.
A Deadhead flyer, passed out at Oakland, CA shows in 1990 announcing a 4:20 on 4/20 gathering, put it best:
There is something fantastic about getting ripped at 4:20, when you know your brothers and sisters all over the country are tokin up right along with you.
Now there's even something more grand than getting baked at 4:20.
We're talking about the day of celebration, the real time to get high, the grand master of all holidays: 4/20, or April 20th.
Since then, the 4:20 vibe has bubbled around Dead tours and made countless appearances on the HIGH TIMES Hemp 100, slowly burning its way into street slang while confusing straight folks and many older smokers as well.
Four-twenty subliminals pop up occasionally.
Nederland,Colorado's Mountaineer newspaper reports all pot arrests as occurring at 4:20.
One scene in Pulp Fiction featured a clock on the wall that read 4:20.
It's like Miller Time for hippies, is how one headshop owner defines it.
As 4:20 insinuated itself into the nooks and crannies of our culture, companies began to merchandise it.
Initial efforts such as the "4:20 24/7 t-shirt were relatively homegrown.
After the Oakland-based punk-funk stoner band Puzzlefish titled their first album 4:20, they decided to also use their favorite time of day as the name of their record label, leading them to apply for a federal trademark on 4:20 Records in early 1995.
Every note of anything we've ever played was conceived, written, rehearsed, recorded, the whole deal, after 4:20," explains lead singer Brian Kesselring.
However, they were only able to trademark the number 4:20, and only as it applies to music-related items, such as CDs, CD-ROMs and drumsticks.
Last year, HORDE tour impresarios Dave Frey and Jim Lewi wanted to call their new record label Records 4:20, after noticing the steady sales on the previous summerís tour of Headcase hemp hats featuring the Interstate 420 logo.
Soon lawyers began discussing large sums of money, but eventually the 4:20 philosophy prevailed.
Lewi considered contesting Puzzlefish's trademark, because you don't get the trademark until you actually use the name.
We could have easily just put 4:20 on the HORDE CD compilation somewhere and taken the name.
"After a legal action by Puzzlefish, Lewi and Frey eventually backed off and renamed their label the Mountain Division of Hollywood Records, and have since signed their first band, Leftover Salmon.
In the meantime, 4:20 Records has picked up a national distribution deal and added two bands, Budderball and The Fly, to their roster.
While the 4:20 phenomena keep blossoming, April 20th has taken on the designation of Hippie New Year.
The original 4/20 gathering on Marin's Mt. Tamalpais still happens, complete with Frisbees, drum circles and minimal harassment from the Park Rangers who patrol the site.
Across the Golden Gate, the Cannabis Action Network is planning their second annual 4/20 celebration at the Maritime Hall in San Francisco, featuring live bands and the Hempseed Cafe.
In Sarasota, FL, the headshop Hippies plans to host the band Neurotica in their back parking lot.
A 4:20 fundraiser will take place in the nation's capitol.
And in Kala-mazoo, MI, the ska-steady band Daddy Longlegs will host the second annual 4:20 Ball at Club Soda on Saturday night, April 19, in order to properly prepare for 4:20 AM on 4/20.
By the time April 20th arrives-start counting the shopping days now-there may be many more such events sprouting up all over the country.
If nothing is happening in your area, feel free to organize your own 4/20 Day celebration.
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