Updated: May 5
The 20th of April, or 4/20, is a well-known holiday in cannabis culture, celebrated by enthusiasts across the globe. But where did this holiday come from? This month we'll take a look back and explore the origins and history of 4/20. Plus we'll tell you how Stash Queens spent the day celebrating.
True story! The origin of 4/20 is rooted in a group of high school students in San Rafael, California, in the early 1970s. The students, who called themselves the “Waldos,” used the term “420” as a code word for smoking cannabis. According to legend, the Waldos would meet at 4:20 pm after school to smoke together.
The term “420” soon spread beyond the group of friends and became a slang term for smoking cannabis. In the 1990s, it gained widespread popularity and became associated with the cannabis culture, eventually evolving into a holiday celebrated by millions of people worldwide. The power and influence of young stoners is real and this was even before the era of social media and internet influencing.
In New York City, we have long been a hub for cannabis culture and activism, and 4/20 is no exception. City consumers host a variety of events and activities to celebrate the holiday, ranging from concerts and parties to educational events and protests. 4/20 has also become an important marketing opportunity for cannabis companies, who use the holiday to launch new products, offer discounts, and promote their brand. A high holiday indeed!
This year, Stash Queens had the honor of participating in Puff in the Park, a now annual event organized by its founder Vic Styles of Black Girls Smoke and the brand Good Day Flor. This event gives a focused space for Black Women and their allies to learn about a variety of Black owned cannabis brands. Most importantly, it creates a public space for Black people to relax and smoke together. We provided Stash Queens merchandise at the event, our super cute tote bags and lighters, to expand our brand awareness and to contribute to this amazing event!
To start, it was an absolutely gorgeous Spring day to commune with other Black folks. What we appreciated, besides all of the hard work that went into putting the event together, was Vic’s call to action around designating a public space for people to be in nature and puff. In New York City, even with legalization, there are regulations around smoking in public parks and spaces. Considering that smoking outside provides ideal ventilation and community, it can also make Black folks a target of law enforcement.Now that is something we always want to avoid, for all of the reasons that being Black in America makes you painfully aware. Having designated areas of smoking allows everyone access to a public space, especially in a city like New York where public space can feel congested, just with our density alone.
There is a conflict that comes up with people, even very pro pot consumers, that believe public space should be preserved around not smoking. If you grew up any time before the 90s, cigarettes were smoked inside and outside. Yet, following public health developments, you would now be horrified at someone smoking inside a public building. Yet, if you walk down any NYC block, I bet you will smell a rich aroma of flower in the air and if you go to any public park in the City, folks are smoking there anyway.
There has to be a way to respond to the needs of all, that does not just result in potential policing of Black people in public space that want to smoke. Vic’s organization Black Girls Smoke works to break down the stigmas around cannabis usage. We stand beside her call and petition to the state to explore better ways of engaging a population of pot smokers, who are already in the public arena and deserve to be included in conversations about how we ALL get to share space! This was one of the best 4/20 holidays that we have had and our team really looks forward to how we will continue to build our community and launch products each year! Until next month Stashies!!!