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21 April 2005

Felix IV-XX!

Did y'all have a nice 4/20
? What'd ya do for 4/20?

There've now been about 300 articles in North American newspapers to try to track down the origin of 4/20 or 4-20 or 4:20. The overwhelming concensus of this investigative research is that 4-20 is NOT and never was police radio code for "persons smoking marijuana." All the police radio dispatchers and police department spokespersons deny vehemently that this ever crackled over their radios.

The Truth, that slippery, evasive entity, is probably shrouded forever in a cloud of smoke, but the origin that rings truest seems to be that a todd of high school students in California used to meet every afternoon to indulge. At first they used to yell to each other across the cafeteria, "Hey Scott! Let us all meet behind the stadium this afternoon at 4:20 pm and smoke marijuana!" but they soon discovered there was a down-side to this form of communication, and so they encoded it just to "4:20," a convenient time after Calculus Club was over.

Now every Scott, Mark, Tifani, Heather, Amber and Kimberly on Earth knows the code, and even some Junior Geezers know it.

If from time to time you have suspected that the USA's cannabis laws were about 4.68 x 10^23 more toxic and dangerous than cannabis itself, check out Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (I am a member of its Geezer Auxiliary), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and my personal fave, the Media Awareness Project.

"Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain."
-- Goethe, "Faust"

And when the USA's racist, comatose and foot-shooting laws and policies just drive you to drink, despair, distraction and dismay, you can always go here.

Elsewhen, 20 April is Hitler's birthday, and the anniversary of the mass-murders at Columbine High School in Colorado. You decide which is your favorite theme for your 4/20 party. I've made my choice.

So has this high school principal in British Columbia. He can just bite me.


The Maple Ridge News
Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
29 April 2001

4/20 Isn't Just about
Skipping out to Smoke Dope

To the Editor:

Re: "Students skip out on special day for dope" (25 April 2001).

I note with mystification that the lengthy and seemingly comprehensive story contains not a single quote or opinion from a single high school student, not from an absentee, not from an honour student who attended that day.

Police officers and school principals explain what happened in the high schools on 4/20, and even go so far as describing students' thoughts, feelings and motivations, and, where their feelings are deemed "wrong," telling them what their proper feelings ought to be.

If some students skipped from fears about the Columbine tragedy, these are their fears, and they have the right to their own fears. It is thoughtless and even cruel to punish them for "wrong fearing." Clearly school authorities were asleep at the switch in failing to address these fears in advance with supportive programs, information and counseling. But there's time for punishment now.

I particularly enjoyed Pitt Meadows Principal Wes Thomas' quote: "I believe in fairness and I believe this is fair. If they decide to skip out then they earned that suspension."

May I suggest a more accurate speech for this principal who knows why every student was absent, and knows what's fair for them? "I believe in my authority, and I have the power to suspend any student I wish for anything I wish."

Robert Merkin
Northampton, Massachusetts USA


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