Celebrating Cannabis on 4/20: The Times They Are A-Changin

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April 19, 2019

While many people feast on chocolate Easter eggs this weekend, others will be consuming something entirely different (and will likely hit the eggs after). Saturday marks 4/20, or as some people call it, Weed Day.

For almost 40 years now, April 20th has been a day to celebrate marijuana and protest what many people consider to be outdated laws surrounding the cannabis plant.

Hazy History

How did 4/20 come to be? There are many rumors about the origins of “4/20”, but the story that has stood the test of time involves a group of high school students in the early 1970s.

The friends attended San Rafael High School in Marin County, California, and called themselves “the Waldos.” As legend has it, they would meet at 4:20 p.m. to get high. The term 4/20 eventually became a secret code for them to use when their parents were around, and it spread across California and beyond.   

Another legend, although unconfirmed, says 4/20 stems from Bob Dylan’s song, “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”. The lyrics say “Everbody must get stoned,” and 12 x 35 = 420.

Dylan himself has never confirmed any link, but when it comes to pot, some of his lyrics certainly do apply. As 4/20 approaches, the most recent cannabis-related news stories below make it clear that “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

The Headlines

1) Big Sales

Here’s hoping the shelves are fully-stocked at North American cannabis shops this weekend. Industry experts say this 4/20 is projected to be the busiest yet for dispensaries across the U.S. and Canada. Of course, Canadian retailers are experiencing their very first Weed Day after legalization. South of the border, 10 states have legalized recreational cannabis, and another 33 have done the same for medicinal pot. Factor in that the holiday is happening on the weekend and that more consumers are coming of age, and you’ve got yourself lineups out the door. According to Flowhub, cannabis sales on 4/20/2018 jumped 30% compared to 4/20/2017. Expect that trend to continue.   

2) Potless Products

Pot products without cannabis? Believe it or not, that’s a thing. According to BNN Bloomberg, many Canadian companies are trying to get into the booming cannabis industry without using the plant at all. It involves synthetically producing THC and other compounds in a lab using things like sugar and yeast, which would end up being cheaper than traditional cultivation and harvesting of cannabis. The process is similar to brewing beer; water and malted grain are fermented together. In this case, the yeast will be genetically engineered to produce enzymes that yield cannabinoids. It’s neat what technology can do, but doesn’t this defeat the purpose? Many people attracted to cannabis like it because it’s a natural plant, not because it comes out of a lab. I predict this doesn’t go over so well.  

3) Canna-Beverages

For those who don’t necessarily like to smoke, drinking cannabis is now an option. In what could be the next most significant trend in the industry, many producers are infusing CBD and THC into various beverages. Think tea, coffee, soda, mixed drinks, and even wine. According to Forbes, the bottles come in various potency levels, ranging from 2.5 mg to 100 mg of THC per container.  Many different brands already exist, including California Dreamin’, MJ Wines, and Recess, and most of the CBD and THC beverages already out have positioned themselves as health and wellness products. Zenith Global predicts canna-beverages will be a $1.4 billion market by 2023! Now the producers have to figure out how to remove the earthy taste often associated with the cannabis plant from the drinks.

4) Insane In The Membrane

Despite recreational cannabis now being legal in Canada, many protests are still scheduled across the country on 4/20. Why? In Vancouver, one organizer of a weekend event told CBC News they’re protesting a lack of access to cannabis. The rollout has been incredibly slow, with many legal dispensaries running out of the product due to high demand. Meanwhile, another controversy is playing out surrounding that city’s big 4/20 celebration. Cypress Hill has been booked to perform a concert, and the Vancouver Park Board voted to ask organizers to cancel the show. They’re worried the music group will draw too many people to the event and cause safety issues and significant damage to the grounds. The park board says last year’s unpermitted event cost the city more than $200,000 in clean up fees, safety, and other operational costs.   

5) Cannabis and Anesthesia

A small study has found that people who use cannabis regularly may need up to twice the amount of sedation drugs than nonusers during various medical procedures. Published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, researchers at Community Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado, looked at the medical records of 250 patients who underwent endoscopic procedures from the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2017. Keep in mind; recreational cannabis has been legal in Colorado since 2012. The study found the patients who reported smoking or using edibles regularly needed 14% more fentanyl, 20% more midazolam, and 220% more propofol to be adequately sedated for routine procedures. According to a CNN report, it took 13.83 mg of propofol for 225 nonusers to fall asleep, compared with 44.81 mg needed for 25 cannabis users. This was a tiny study, and of course, much more research needs to be done.

Featured image courtesy of Cannabis Culture.

Catherine Sherriffs
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Catherine Sherriffs

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her two young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.
Catherine Sherriffs
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