UN meeting on drug policy is marked by an unofficial holiday: 4/20

Overlapping dates are most likely coincidental, says marijuana advocate as pot smokers prepare to celebrate cannabis nationwide

As diplomats from around the world ready to discuss global drug policy at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs in New York, stoners in the US will prepare for the nations unofficial pot smoking holiday, on 20 April.

For the uninitiated, regular marijuana smokers in the US look upon four-twenty as a day to celebrate the illicit plant, and its growing acceptance in American culture. The holiday is expressed as 420 or 4/20, celebrated at 4.20pm or 4.20am. You might be asked to go four-twenty.

Though the overlapping dates are most likely coincidental, according to the deputy director of the American National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml), Paul Armentano, the date still deserves reflection.

It is an indication of the unique cultural and social acceptance enjoyed by cannabis that this date now garners such wide-stream awareness and attention from the mainstream media, Armentano said. It is meaningful that world leaders are finally engaging in substantive discussions with regard to cannabis policy and possible law reform.

The 20 April celebration has its origins in the 1970s, when a group of high school students from Point Reyes, California set out to track down a plot of abandoned marijuana plants, according to the Huffington Post. To ready for their journey, they smoked some weed around 4.20pm, and the term stuck 420 was born. Later, the term migrated to use among Grateful Dead fans, and appeared in the American marijuana magazine High Times in 1991.

The special assembly this week is the first in 18 years. Concern over current drug control policies, namely criminal penalties for drug users, pushed the United Nations to schedule the assembly three years earlier than originally planned (though an assembly will still take place in 2019).

Leaders from around the world, especially in Latin America, have lobbied the United Nations to end its prohibitionist stance on drugs, first brought to life in a 1961 convention. And while diplomats are in New York, celebrities as diverse as the rap executive Russell Simmons, the former news anchor Melissa Harris Perry and the business mogul Richard Branson will lend their voices to the movement to decriminalize at the temporary Museum of Drug Policy.

But regular smokers may want to temper expectations. The UNs most recent special session on drugs in 1998 reaffirmed the international bodys commitment to prohibition, as international leaders pledged to work toward a drug free world by 2008.

In draft policy documents prepared ahead of the UN meeting in New York, leaders from select countries in Vienna largely maintained existing international drug control regimes. In draft documents, the UN called on countries to reduce or eliminate the illicit cultivation of cannabis crops, a reaffirmation that could be approved as early as Tuesday (4/19).

Not all the news is bad, however, for medical marijuana advocates. On Sunday, Pennsylvania became the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Originally found athttp://www.theguardian.com/us

The post UN meeting on drug policy is marked by an unofficial holiday: 4/20 appeared first on Holiday Guide To Everything.

UN meeting on drug policy is marked by an unofficial holiday: 4/20

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