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420 Around the World

By Anna Lambias

Held every April 20, 420 Day celebrates the conspicuous consumption of cannabis. Sure, it is a day to take a stand against the drug war

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By Anna Lambias

Held every April 20, 420 Day celebrates the conspicuous consumption of cannabis. Sure, it is a day to take a stand against the drug war and discuss tactics for abolishing the prohibition on a clearly beneficial medicine. But come on now, people—it’s also about hanging out with your buddies, getting high and being happy.

If you plan to light up on this very hallowed holiday, you won’t be alone—tens of thousands of cannabis enthusiasts will be joining you. But 420 Day isn’t as big a deal around world as it is in the U.S., perhaps because the vast majority of the planet actually writes the date as 20/4. From Russia to Argentina, the more popular option for annual cannabis-related events is the Global Marijuana March, which takes place in more than 600 cities on the first Saturday in May.

Here’s a sneak peek at how other cannabis fans typically celebrate on or around the big 4-2-0.

Australia

In the New South Wales town of Nimbin (otherwise known as the San Francisco Down Under), the Nimbin H*E*M*P (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) Bar will celebrate the10th anniversary of its webcam (which first went live on April 20, 2000) with an all-day party. The event features a cake with 10 big joints for candles. Or join them for MardiGrass, May 1 and 2.

Canada

Expect a crowd at the annual 420 event held in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s estimated that nearly 10,000 hippies, hipsters, Rastas and suits gathered in 2009 to pass the peace pipe, listen to music and patronize booths selling snacks and $1 stickers that read: “Legalize, Regulate, Educate, Medicate.” Although cannabis cultivation is still illegal in Canada, use by the general public is broadly tolerated. All the police did in 2009 was joke that they were “trying to stay upwind.”

Holland

Yes, yes—every day is 420 Day in Amsterdam, but head there April 18-20, 2010 for the IC 420 Growers & Breeders Cup. It’s a showcase and competition for cannabis growers from all over the world, with a component just for local coffee shops. The coffee shops are judged on such criteria as ambience, cleanliness, décor and service, as well as the quality and variety of ganja they supply. In your spare time, take a garden tour at the Cannabis College or a seminar on grow room design and security.

Ireland

Legalise Cannabis Ireland plans to hold a protest in front of the Dublin Department of Health. The reason for their ire? The people’s lack of access to medical cannabis, naturally. Although the protest will take place on 4/20, LCI members opted to stage the event from 12:45 to 2 p.m., as the Health Department’s offices are closed by 4:20 p.m. (those lucky Irish government employees.) There will also be a squad of irie Irish out in support of Marc Emery, the Canadian cannabis advocate and seed supplier who’s fighting extradition to and imprisonment in the U.S.

New Zealand

Members of Otago NORML meet every Wednesday and Friday at 4:20 p.m. on the Otago University Union Lawn in Dunedin to smoke cannabis in defiance of New Zealand’s anti-cannabis laws. Another protest is planned for 4/20, but J-Day, held on 5/1, is a far bigger deal, with 2010 events planned in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. In the past, the Otago crew has marched on the local police station and “hot-boxed” it. They also organize an annual J-Day ascension of Baldwin Street (the world’s steepest street) at 4:20 a.m., making it the earliest Global Marijuana March each year.

Norway

According to Norway NORML, no “official” 420 Day are planned in the northern nation, but there “have been a lot of smoke-outs in front of the parliament building, and some of them might have been on the 20th of April.” It’s probably a better bet to visit in May, as six cities (Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, and Tromsø) have been hoofing the Global Marijuana March for the right to get high since 1999.

United States

If you want to celebrate 420 Day with your fellow Americans, here’s a handful of the myriad of options available:

Colorado:  Celebrants turn out in big numbers every year on 420 at the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus—nearly 15,000 folks attended the 2009 event.

California:  Fans will make the annual 420 Day migration to Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz. In San Francisco, thousands are expected to drag their drums down to the huge Hippie Hill hoedown in Golden Gate Park. Just to be different, Cal State Monterey Bay NORML will hold a Cannabis Freedom Rally on the main quad April 21, with performances by live local bands and speakers talking about the drug war.

Massachusetts:  Keep your eyes glued to the web for last-minute info on 420 Day events throughout Boston and other cities. Last year, students at Tufts University held a rocking library rooftop party with DJ Slim.

New York:  Empire State NORML is awaiting final permits for the group’s “4:20 p.m. Snack Time,” in which participants will be encouraged to bring treats that contain chocolate chips, peanut butter or “whatever” instead of smokables to placate the police.