It is well known in circles of those who use marijuana what 420 means. It is a call for smokers around the world to light up. In 1971 the idea for 420 came about from a group of students who planned to meet at 4:20 in the afternoon and search out Marijuana plants they suspected were growing in a pasture near the school. Easter happens to fall on 4-20 this year and there will be a different kind of celebration, one by cannabis users all over the world.
The code for smoking cannabis spread like wildfire. It was adopted by the Grateful Dead band and its followers who are known as Deadheads. Anything associated with 420 will spark a smile among users and most will light up.
It is reported that a sign in Colorado on mile 420 has been replaced with 419.99 because it was nicked so often by those who follow this secret code. Denver will be the center of this year’s celebration by cannabis users, during the Easter holiday. The celebration is held every year to hold awareness in favor of legalizing marijuana.
Not all is good for those supporters of legalization. In recent weeks there have been two deaths that are potentially linked to the consumption of cannabis used in an edible form. One young man jumped from a balcony after consuming more than six times the amount recommended in a potent cookie. Marijuana was a possibly significant in the contributing factor in his death, according to the coroner.
Richard Kirk is accused of shooting his wife in suburban Denver after hallucinating from edible cannabis. The link between the two has not yet been proven but the awareness is up and legislature is ready to step in.
According to the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, there have been 26 people who have reported poisoning from edible cannabis since the beginning of the year. Of those who reported having been poisoned, two have been incubated in an intensive care unit. Hallucinations, stomach sickness, dizziness and anxiety are symptoms of possible overdose.
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy claims a 30 percent increase in positive drug tests since 2013 and 93 percent increase in packages leaving the state since 2010. The Federal law still does not recognize the legalization of marijuana and he feels the federal government should enforce the law. Cannabis users around the world would beg to differ with Kennedy as they celebrate the Easter holiday to show their support for legalization.
Colorado and Washington have started to tax and regulate the use of marijuana sales. This may encourage other states to legalize the drug to offset their deficit. The industry is worth around $1.53 billion and rising every day with an estimated value of $10.2 billion in five years. Colorado has seen revenue of over $6 million in just the first two months of sales for 2014 while Washington is projected to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $190 million in taxes and fees in the fiscal year.
The point is continuing to be debated is that America is in need of an industry that will raise revenue for the economy, but some are concerned that the links to injury and death may be real, and are asking if the financial gains justify the perceived risking of lives.
April twentieth is meant to celebrate the Easter holiday but it will be celebrated by Christians and cannabis user alike. One is to honor the life, death and rising of Jesus Christ while the other is to share a common goal in legalizing a drug. Two very different reasons for each group but they will have to share the same day for now.
Opinion by Jabar Morarend