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It's 4/20: Do you know where your classmates are?

EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Employees at Cheba Hut on Sixth Street and Campbell Avenue will be hosting live music from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today in recognition of National Pot Smokers Day.
By Aubrey McDonnell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
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Students comment on reefer 'holiday'

Today is National Pot Smokers Day for marijuana lovers across America.

The once cache holiday is now a well-known date for both hardcore potheads and recreational users to hit their bongs and light their joints at 4:20 p.m., according to the High Times Web site.

Marijuana lovers may agree today is meant for marijuana smokers to unite in their love of reefer, but the reasons and myths behind 4/20 is debated among many UA students.

The police code myth: "Four-twenty is a cop code, that's what I've heard," said Wes Fuller, an undeclared sophomore.

If a police officer radios "420," he is referring to a family fight or some sort of domestic violence. It has nothing to do with drug use.

The Hitler Myth

"I heard it's because it's Hitler's birthday, but I'm a history major and I still don't know if that's true or not, but that's what I've heard," said Erica Kaczmar, a history sophomore.

Yes and no. It is true, and a little disconcerting, that Adolf Hitler was born April 20, 1889, but his birth has nothing to do with the origins of 4/20. It is also true that the Columbine High School shootings happened on April 20, 1999, but the popularity of smoking on 4/20 started long before the Columbine tragedy.

The Drug Dealer Myth

"There are four '20s' in an ounce (of marijuana)," said Ryan Carpenter, a biology sophomore. "And that's what it boils down to."

But really, the origins of 4/20 have nothing to do with weights and measurements.

Molly's Myth

"One day people were sitting in a room smoking, and they looked at the clock and they noticed it was 4:20," said Molly Leimontas, a psychology sophomore. "Everybody was like 'Oh my God! Oh my God! That number is so great!' Then they started chanting '4-2-0' and the rest is history."

Although this scenario is completely possible, it is not the origin of 4/20.

The origin of the marijuana-smoker's holiday may not be as exciting as one would think.

In 1971, a group of California high school students chose 4:20 p.m. as the time of day they would meet in their "spot" to smoke after school. The students considered 4:20 p.m. a perfect time to smoke because it was after school ended but before many parents return home from work, according to the Web site.

Have you ever noticed that marijuana smokers have the craziest stories? Smoking marijuana can lead some students into interesting situations, while other students are left to ponder what's real and what's not. Some UA students were willing to share their crazy 4/20 celebration stories with the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

When preachers attack

Alex Aaslid, a political science sophomore, said he has been in some crazy situations while he was high, but he'll never forget that fateful day on Mill Avenue in Tempe.

Aaslid said he remembers watching a preacher yell about how homosexual people were "taking over the world."

"I'm just kind of laughing at him and then all of a sudden this Teletubby comes out and starts dancing around the guy," Aaslid said. "The priest just lost it, dude. He started beating the shit out of this Teletubby, and then the Teletubby just takes off running and the priest chased him down."

Helicopter, helicopter over my head

Smoking illegal substances can get some students into trouble. We don't recommend running from the police, but this is the experience of one UA student.

"The first party I went to when I was a sophomore in high school was on 4/20," Carpenter said. "The party was broken up when a police helicopter light shined on us, and I wound up running away and getting lost 5 miles away."

Carpenter made it home safely the next morning but he said he would never forget his close call with the police.

Kid-tested, mother-approved

Parents smoke marijuana, too. Fuller said he thoughtfully remembers the first time he got high with his mom.

"We were closing the house up after we smoked and I heard loud knocking. I went to the front door and no one was there," Fuller said. "The banging was coming from the bathroom door and my mom was yelling, 'Help me! I can't get out.' The door was locked. After I told her to unlock the door she came out, no problem, and I still make fun of her for it."

This year, students can add to their 4/20 memories, though it is important to remember smoking marijuana is illegal.

"My plans are to talk to Mary Jane every minute of the hour and to eat a lot of culinary marijuana-enriched foods," Leimontas said.

Local food venues like Cheba Hut are prepared for an influx of customers today. Cheba Hut will have live music from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., as well as lunch specials and giveaways.

"We will be giving away all sorts of items from head shops," said Kenny Wadman, the Cheba Hut sandwich guy. "Everyone will also receive a 4/20 Frisbee."

Last year at the Cheba Hut in Mesa, Wadman said the line wrapped around the building and they had to close early because they ran out of food. This is the first year Tucson's Cheba Hut will be hosting a 4/20 party.

"We are expecting quite a turnout; our entire staff will be on tomorrow," Wadman said.

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