Will You Be Taking Time Off From Work to Celebrate 4/20?

April 20 is considered an unofficial pot holiday among regular marijuana users across the nation. It is such a popular day in some cities that entire events are planned around it. From street festivals to concerts and huge retail sales, what is affectionately referred to as 4/20 can rival more traditional holidays. Do you plan to celebrate when it comes around?

Let us go one step further. Will you be taking time off from work to join 4/20 celebrations? Apparently, a fair percentage of regular marijuana consumers will be doing just that. Taking time off for Christmas or Thanksgiving makes sense. But for marijuana?


The Origins, Not Legalization

If you are unfamiliar with the whole 4/20 thing, it is actually a reference to the illegal marijuana trade that existed prior to legalization efforts beginning in earnest. As the history goes, a group of high school students in search of a well-known California growing operation would meet every afternoon at 4:20 P.M. before heading out to explore. Eventually, 4:20 became 4/20 as well as a euphemism to allow the friends to talk without their parents having a clue.

Celebrating 4/20 is really about celebrating efforts to normalize illegal marijuana consumption in this country. It is not really about legalization. That is understandable, given the fact that marijuana is still federally illegal. But still, celebrating the origins of an illegal activity seems somewhat troubling.

Perhaps 4/20 celebrations are more about ‘sticking it to the man’ than anything else. It is also possible that some participants do not even know the origins of the unofficial holiday. They might attend local events as a way to celebrate marijuana being legal where they live.


Shady But Not Necessarily Bad

From this writer’s perspective, the whole idea of 4/20 as an unofficial marijuana holiday is shady, at best. But that does not make it all bad. History is replete with examples of people engaging in illegal activity in order to change the game. They recruit others, the movement grows, and the activity is eventually legalized. That is exactly what has happened with marijuana at the state level.

I may not be in perfect agreement with recreational marijuana consumption. But I am also a firm believer in medical cannabis as a treatment for certain conditions. The number of states with medical cannabis programs on the books now stands at 38. Would medical cannabis even be a thing if the 4/20 movement had never begun?

Utah is among the 38 states with legal medical cannabis. Few outsiders thought that Utah would ever get on board. But they did with the passage of a voter proposition in 2019. More than three years later (at the time of this writing), organizations like Utahmarijuana.org are helping patients get their cannabis cards, educating those patients, and advocating for a better system statewide. Again, would any of this be happening had activists in California, Washington, and Oregon not pushed so hard?


It’s a Personal Thing

Like so many other people, I admit to not being a fan of recreational marijuana. I am also skeptical of April 20 being an unofficial marijuana holiday. But I’m also old enough and smart enough to know that marijuana consumption is a personal matter at this point. Forget the law. It’s going to be legal nationwide at some point. Then marijuana will be just like alcohol.

Do you plan to take time off from work to celebrate 4/20? And if so, would you be inclined to celebrate a similar holiday linked to alcohol? If that’s your thing, so be it. I am happy to be a skeptic.