It’s high time for the legalization of marijuana
April 17, 2013
Filed under Opinion Columns
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Pot, weed, reefer. Whatever your pet word for marijuana may be, April 20 is the day to celebrate it. There are as many myths behind how April 20, commonly referred to as 420, became a stoner holiday, as there are nicknames for the plant. There are claims that it has something to do with Hitler’s birthday, the number of chemicals in a marijuana plant, and the time that students arrived home from school and proceeded to light up. That last rumor is the closest to the truth, according to the Huffington Post, who two years ago went on an epic quest to find the real meaning behind what they call “Weed Day.” Five students in California (of all places) began using the term in the early 70s. They had heard rumors of an abandoned marijuana field near the Point Reyes Peninsula and decided to go in search of a little free weed. They began meeting after school, at 4:20 to be exact. Their code word when talking about their adventures was simply three numbers and soon became code for so much more. They began using the term 420 to let each other know they were either going to get high, were high, or were going to go out looking for the sticky green fields they had yet to find. It seems like a far stretch to think that five stoners in California coined a term that spread like wild fire and is still in use today, but you have to consider the era it all started in. The high school the students attended was just blocks away from where the Grateful Dead used to practice and they would often stop to watch the band. From their lips to Jerry Garcia’s ears, it was only a matter of time before 420 became a popular term for Deadheads across America. This year, marijuana users have even more to celebrate on April 20. A recent Pew study showed, that for the first time in history, more Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana. The margin isn’t huge, 52 percent to 45 percent, but it shows support for a movement that has been in the works since the early 60s. If this study is any indication of how legislators feel, it won’t be a big surprise when more states join Colorado and Washington in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Legalizing pot is still a ways off for many states, but there has been a movement to decriminalize it. In fact, 15 states have already done so. While decimalizing weed doesn’t make its use legal, it does lessen the risk when getting caught. Instead of prison time and a police record, possession of a small amount is treated like a traffic violation. Medical marijuana is still a big issue too. The same Pew study mentioned above also noted that 77 percent of people now recognize the medical properties that marijuana holds. According to procon.org, 10 states have medical marijuana legislation pending, including Illinois. If these bills are passed, these states will be joining 18 other states and the District of Columbia that have already legally recognized the positive uses for medical marijuana. Tides are shifting as hippies grow older and a younger generation finds “Reefer Madness” more comical than horrifying. Eventually, the federal government will have to listen to the states concerning marijuana. America is a country meant to be free of tyrannical government and, sooner rather than later, Congress will have to hear the people’s voices.