What is 420? And why do people celebrate it?

IT may have originated in America but 420 is now celebrated around the world.

Saturday, 20th April 2019, 11:14 am
Updated Saturday, 20th April 2019, 11:32 am
Today is 420

Taking its name from the US way of writing dates, it is has become an annual celebration of cannabis-culture which takes place on April 20. 

With 420 becoming a counterculture holiday with protests held around the globe calling for marijuana to be legalised as well as to consume the drug. 

It is more prominent in America, where cannabis has been legalised in several states. 

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However 420 has recently spread to the UK with gatherings held in Hyde Park in London on April 20. 

But it must be stressed that cannabis is still an illegal drug in this country and possessing it is a criminal offence. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

What does 420 mean and where does it come from? 

While 420 or 4/20 does refer to the US form of writing dates – with the month coming before the day. 

The origin of the term 420 is, according to legend, based around the time 4.20pm and it is believed to have been coined by a group of high school students called the Waldos in 1971 in California, US. 

With 420 being slang used by the five students who would meet at 4.20pm to try and find an abandoned crop of marijuana. Eventually it was shortened down to 420 and became code for them consuming the drug. 

The term became popular with fans of the band the Grateful Dead and has since become wide spread slang for cannabis. 

420 Hyde Park

In the UK an annual pro-legalisation of marijuana rally is held in Hyde Park in London on April 20. 

With hundreds of people gathering in the park and smoking weed. 

Is weed illegal in the UK? What punishments can you face?

Cannabis is a Class B drug in the UK and despite countries such as Canada and parts of US legalising it, marijuana is outlawed here in this country. 

The maximum penalty for possession of cannabis is five years in prison and an unlimited fine. 

Police are able to give out ‘cannabis warnings’ if a person is caught with small amount of the drug – generally less than 1 ounce of herbal cannabis. 

Under UK law there are also penalties for unlicensed dealing, production and trafficking which can reach up to 14 years in prison.