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I have bought a few "HIGH TIMES" magazines and came across this article written by Steven Hager, I liked it so I decided to post it here.

By Steven Hager

Do you know what 420 means? Several times over the past few years, HIGH TIMES has attributed "420" to a code used by the San Rafael police department. However, the department has always denied this and I've come to the conclusion that they are telling the truth. I was recently contacted by a group known as "the Waldos," who claim to have originated 420 in San Rafael in 1971. The group began meeting every day at 4:20 PM after high school and eventually began to use 420 for marijuana so they could talk about pot in front of parents and teachers.

I believe 420 is a ritualization of cannabis use that holds deep meaning for our subculture. It also points us in a direction for the responsible use of cannabis. Before one can understand the difference responsible and irresponsible use of cannabis, one must come to terms with the fact there are really two cannabis cultures in America: smart stoners and stupid stoners.

The stupid stoners wake'n'bake on exam days. They think being high is an end in itself and strive to be stoned as often as possible. When a stupid stoner shows up at your house, they usually feel it's their duty to compulsively decimate whatever stash you have immediately and save nothing for later. Stupid stoners are the people Cheech and Chong made fun of when they created the most widely accepted stereotype of a pothead.

Smart stoners, on the other hand, are the ones who use cannabis as a creative tool to enhance their lives. They know cannabis can be used as an asset if used intelligently. Bob Marley, Willie Nelson, Louis Armstrong, Ken Kesey and Stephen Gaskin are among the many cultural icons who fall into the smart stoner category.

But what does all this have to do with 420? First, it means it's better to wait to smart smoking pot until 4:20 PM - unless, you have a medical reason for starting sooner. The late afternoon is the time to step back and review the day's events. It's the time to brainstorm. The people who use cannabis sparingly get more impact than those who use it continuously. The more you smoke, the less high you get. The less often you smoke, the higher you get. This has always been my experience.

Second, 420 is a model for how cannabis should be portrayed to children, which is the most important issue as far as many prohibitionists are concerned. We have to convince these people that the use of cannabis by children will not soar after legalization and that we are not interested in recruiting children to join our cannabis society.

Ever since the Partnership for a Drug-Free America began putting ads on television targeting the use of cannabis by children, teenage pot-smoking has gone up. Obviously, the more you talk about it in front of kids, the more curious they are going to be about it. Telling them that it's bad is not going to be much of a deterrent. In fact, many kids just naturally enjoy the outlaw thrill of breaking rules set by adults. The solution is not to put more negative advertising on television, but to stop talking about pot in front of children. Adults need to establish a code for cannabis, one that the children don't understand. We also have to ritualize the use of cannabis and turn it into a rite of passage. That way, when teenagers reach the proper age, they can be inducted into adulthood by being awarded with the keys to the cannabis code.

Stupid stoners may feel part of the hemp revolution, but they are, in fact, part of the problem. If we want to convince the straight world that cannabis is not a dangerous plant, we must use it wisely, not irresponsibly. We have to be stoner smart, not stoner stupid. So, which side of the coin do you want to be on?